‘Yesterday evening I spent about an hour at the piano. I did not, however, sing any of your especial songs. I began one day—‘The world is so bright’—but my heart and voice failed, because you were away. However, I daresay that I shall try again this evening. How it would cut up my music, were you to go to any great distance, for most of my favourite songs are yours. How I have enjoyed hearing you sing them.... Farewell, sweet Laura. I must go and hear my children their lessons. I hear their little feet and voices above me.’
Our hero, on his pillow, instead of seeking rest from the hopes and fears, the distracting anxieties of the day, commenced again, in fancy, the busy scene. The undisguised admiration of the Marquis for Julia had awakened new terrors; his addresses would be approved of by all her friends. Edmund shuddered to think of the consequences to which such approval might ultimately lead; yet imagination would go forward, devising new tortures, till he leaped from his bed, threw open his window, and strove to force his thoughts into some other channel.
Softly, discreetly, Bond snaked his feet and then his arms through the squares in the wire, lacing himself into them, anchoring himself so that the tentacles would have either to tear him to bits or wrench down the wire barrier with him. He squinted to right and left. Either way it was twenty yards along the wire to the land. And movement, even if he was capable of it, would be fatal. He must stay dead quiet and pray that the thing would lose interest. If it didn't… Softly Bond's fingers clenched on the puny knife.
Tiger said patiently, 'You really must learn to obey orders without asking questions, Bondo-san. That is the essence of our relationship during the next few days. You see that box? When she has undressed you, she will put you in the box which has a charcoal fire under it. You will sweat. After perhaps ten minutes she will help you out of the box and wash you from head to foot. She will even tenderly clean out your ears with a special ivory instrument. She will then pour a very tenacious dark dye with which she has been supplied into that tiled bath in the floor and you will get in. You will relax and bathe your face and hair. She will then dry you and cut your hair in the Japanese style. She will then give you a massage on that couch and, according to your indications, she will make this massage as delightful, as prolonged as you wish. You will then go to sleep. When you are awakened with eggs and bacon and coffee you will kiss the girl good morning and shave, or the other way round, and that will be that.' Tiger curtly asked the girl a question. She brushed back her bang of black hair coquettishly and replied. 'The girl says she is eighteen and that her name is Mariko Ichiban. Mariko means "Truth" and Ichiban means "Number One". The girls in these establishments are numbered. And now, please don't disturb me any more. I am about to enjoy myself in a similar fashion, but without the walnut stain. And please, in future, have faith. You are about to undergo a period of entirely new sensations. They may be strange and surprising. They will not be painful - while you are under my authority, that is. Savour them. Enjoy them as if each one was your last. All right? Then good night, my dear Bondo-san. The night will be short, alas, but if you embrace it fully, it will be totally delightful up to the last squirm of ecstasy. And,' Tiger gave a malicious wave of the hand as he went out and closed the partition, 'you will arise from it what is known as "a new man".'
I brushed away the tears that my utmost resolution had not been able to keep back, and I made a clumsy laugh of it, and we sat down together, side by side.
I tracked down Tony Ramirez, a horticulturist in the Mexican border town of Laredo who’s beentraveling into Tarahumara country for thirty years and now grows Tarahumara heritage corn andgrinds his own pinole. “I’m a big fan of pinole. I love it,” Tony told me. “It’s an incompleteprotein, but combined with beans, it’s more nutritious than a T-bone steak. They usually mix withit with water and drink it, but I like it dry. It tastes like shredded popcorn.
She had seen Agnes, she told me while she was toasting. 'Tom' had taken her down into Kent for a wedding trip, and there she had seen my aunt, too; and both my aunt and Agnes were well, and they had all talked of nothing but me. 'Tom' had never had me out of his thoughts, she really believed, all the time I had been away. 'Tom' was the authority for everything. 'Tom' was evidently the idol of her life; never to be shaken on his pedestal by any commotion; always to be believed in, and done homage to with the whole faith of her heart, come what might.
While my intimacy with Roebuck diminished, I fell more and more into friendly intercourse with our Coleridgian adversaries in the Society, Frederick Maurice and John Sterling, both subsequently so well known, the former by his writings, the latter through the biographies by Hare and Carlyle. Of these two friends, Maurice was the thinker, Sterling the orator, and impassioned expositor of thoughts which, at this period, were almost entirely formed for him by Maurice. With Maurice I had for some time been acquainted through Eyton Tooke, who had known him at Cambridge, and though my discussions with him were almost always disputes, I had carried away from them much that helped to build up my new fabric of thought, in the same way as I was deriving much from Coleridge, and from the writings of Goethe and other German authors which I read during those years. I have so deep a respect for Maurice's character and purposes, as well as for his great mental gifts, that it is with some unwillingness I say anything which may seem to place him on a less high eminence than I would gladly be able to accord to him. But I have always thought that there was more intellectual power wasted in Maurice than in any other of my contemporaries. Few of them certainly have had so much to waste. Great powers of generalization, rare ingenuity and subtlety, and a wide perception of important and unobvious truths, served him not for putting something better into the place of the worthless heap of received opinions on the great subjects of thought, but for proving to his own mind that the Church of England had known everything from the first, and that all the truths on the ground of which the Church and orthodoxy have been attacked (many of which he saw as clearly as any one) are not only consistent with the Thirty-nine articles, but are better understood and expressed in those articles than by any one who rejects them. I have never been able to find any other explanation of this, than by attributing it to that timidity of conscience, combined with original sensitiveness of temperament, which has so often driven highly gifted men into Romanism from the need of a firmer support than they can find in the independent conclusions of their own judgment. Any more vulgar kind of timidity no one who knew Maurice would ever think of imputing to him, even if he had not given public proof of his freedom from it, by his ultimate collision with some of the opinions commonly regarded as orthodox, and by his noble origination of the Christian Socialist movement. The nearest parallel to him, in a moral point of view, is Coleridge, to whom, in merely intellectual power, apart from poetical genius, I think him decidedly superior. At this time, however, he might be described as a disciple of Coleridge, and Sterling as a disciple of Coleridge and of him. The modifications which were taking place in my old opinions gave me some points of contact with them; and both Maurice and Sterling were of considerable use to my development. With Sterling I soon became very intimate, and was more attached to him than I have ever been to any other man. He was indeed one of the most lovable of men. His frank, cordial, affectionate, and expansive character; a love of truth alike conspicuous in the highest things and the humblest; a generous and ardent nature which threw itself with impetuosity into the opinions it adopted, but was as eager to do justice to the doctrines and the men it was opposed to, as to make war on what it thought their errors; and an equal devotion to the two cardinal points of Liberty and Duty, formed a combination of qualities as attractive to me, as to all others who knew him as well as I did. With his open mind and heart, he found no difficulty in joining hands with me across the gulf which as yet divided our opinions. He told me how he and others had looked upon me (from hearsay information), as a "made" or manufactured man, having had a certain impress of opinion stamped on me which I could only reproduce; and what a change took place in his feelings when he found, in the discussion on Wordsworth and Byron, that Wordsworth, and all which that names implies, "belonged" to me as much as to him and his friends. The failure of his health soon scattered all his plans of life, and compelled him to live at a distance from London, so that after the first year or two of our acquaintance, we only saw each other at distant intervals. But (as he said himself in one of his letters to Carlyle) when we did meet it was like brothers. Though he was never, in the full sense of the word, a profound thinker, his openness of mind, and the moral courage in which he greatly surpassed Maurice, made him outgrow the dominion which Maurice and Coleridge had once exercised over his intellect; though he retained to the last a great but discriminating admiration of both, and towards Maurice a warm affection. Except in that short and transitory phasis of his life, during which he made the mistake of becoming a clergyman, his mind was ever progressive: and the advance he always seemed to have made when I saw him after an interval, made me apply to him what Goethe said of Schiller, "Er hatte eine fürchterliche Fortschreitung." He and I started from intellectual points almost as wide apart as the poles, but the distance between us was always diminishing: if I made steps towards some of his opinions, he, during his short life, was constantly approximating more and more to several of mine: and if he had lived, and had health and vigour to prosecute his ever assiduous self-culture, there is no knowing how much further this spontaneous assimilation might have proceeded.
* * *
It seems proper that I should prefix to the following biographical sketch, some mention of the reasons which have made me think it desirable that I should leave behind me such a memorial of so uneventful a life as mine. I do not for a moment imagine that any part of what I have to relate can be interesting to the public as a narrative, or as being connected with myself. But I have thought that in an age in which education, and its improvement, are the subject of more, if not of profounder study than at any former period of English history, it may be useful that there should be some record of an education which was unusual and remarkable, and which, whatever else it may have done, has proved how much more than is commonly supposed may be taught, and well taught, in those early years which, in the common modes of what is called instruction, are little better than wasted. It has also seemed to me that in an age of transition in opinions, there may be somewhat both of interest and of benefit in noting the successive phases of any mind which was always pressing forward, equally ready to learn and to unlearn either from its own thoughts or from those of others. But a motive which weighs more with me than either of these, is a desire to make acknowledgment of the debts which my intellectual and moral development owes to other persons; some of them of recognized eminence, others less known than they deserve to be, and the one to whom most of all is due, one whom the world had no opportunity of knowing. The reader whom these things do not interest, has only himself to blame if he reads farther, and I do not desire any other indulgence from him than that of bearing in mind, that for him these pages were not written.
Bond hated these periods of vacuum. His eyes, his mind, were barely in focus as he turned the pages of a jaw-breaking dissertation by the Scientific Research Station on the Russian use of cyanide gas, propelled by the cheapest bulb-handled children's water pistol, for assassination. The spray, it seemed, directed at the face, took instantaneous effect. It was recommended for victims from 25 years upwards, on ascending stairways or inclines. The verdict would then probably be heart-failure.
Six o'clock came. Bond had a nagging headache, brought on by hours of poring over small-print reference books and aggravated by the lack of oxygen at the high altitude. He needed a drink, three drinks. He had a quick shower and smartened himself up, rang his bell for the 'warder' and went along to the bar. Only a few of the girls were already there. Violet sat alone at the bar and Bond joined her. She seemed pleased to see him. She was drinking a Daiquiri. Bond ordered another and, for himself, a double Bourbon on the rocks. He took a deep pull at it and put the squat glass down. 'By God, I needed that! I've been working like a slave all day while you've been waltzing about the ski-slopes in the sun!' 2020-08-13 07:27:48