Seventh Objection: I won't like it. No, I will not; I have thought it through, and I will not. But what of that? And both she and I may like it more than we suppose. We shall lose friends, all comforts, all society: so has everybody who has ever done anything; but we shall have some excitement, and that's a fine thing; and we shall be trying to do the right, and that's not to be despised. Eighth Objection: I am an author with my work before me. See Second Reason. Ninth Objection: But am I not taken with the hope of excitement? I was at first. I am not much now. I see what a dreary, friendless, miserable, God-forgotten business it will be. And anyway, is not excitement the proper reward of doing anything both right and a little dangerous? Tenth Objection: But am I not taken with a notion of glory? I dare say I am. Yet I see quite clearly how all points to nothing coming, to a quite inglorious death by disease and from the lack of attendance; or even if I should be knocked on the head, as these poor Irish promise, how little any one will care. It will be a smile at a thousand breakfast-tables. I am nearly forty now; I have not many illusions. And if I had? I do not love this health-tending, housekeeping life of mine. I have a taste for danger, which is human, like the fear of it. Here is a fair cause; a just cause; no knight ever set lance in rest for a juster. Yet it needs not the strength I have not, only the passive courage that I hope I could muster, and the watchfulness that I am sure I could learn.
Here is a long midnight dissertation; with myself; with you. Please let me hear. But I charge you this: if you see in this idea of mine the finger of duty, do not dissuade me. I am nearing forty, I begin to love my ease and my home and my habits, I never knew how much till this arose; do not falsely counsel me to put my head under the bed-clothes. And I will say this to you: my wife, who hates the idea, does not refuse. 'It is nonsense,' says she, 'but if you go, I will go.' Poor girl, and her home and her garden that she was so proud of! I feel her garden most of all, because it is a pleasure (I suppose) that I do not feel myself to share.
1. Here is a great wrong. 2. " growing wrong. 3. " wrong founded on crime. 4. " crime that the Government cannot prevent. 5. " crime that it occurs to no man to defy. 6. But it has occurred to me. 7. Being a known person, some will notice my defiance. 8. Being a writer, I can MAKE people notice it. 9. And, I think, MAKE people imitate me. 10. Which would destroy in time this whole scaffolding of oppression. 11. And if I fail, however ignominiously, that is not my concern. It is, with an odd mixture of reverence and humorous remembrances of Dickens, be it said - it is A-nother's.
And here, at I cannot think what hour of the morning, I shall dry up, and remain, - Yours, really in want of a little help,
R. L S.
Sleepless at midnight's dewy hour. " " witching " " " maudlin " " " etc.
NEXT MORNING. - Eleventh Objection: I have a father and mother. And who has not? Macduff's was a rare case; if we must wait for a Macduff. Besides, my father will not perhaps be long here. Twelfth Objection: The cause of England in Ireland is not worth supporting. A QUI LE DITES-VOUS? And I am not supporting that. Home Rule, if you like. Cause of decency, the idea that populations should not be taught to gain public ends by private crime, the idea that for all men to bow before a threat of crime is to loosen and degrade beyond redemption the whole fabric of man's decency.
Letter: TO MRS. FLEEMING JENKIN
[SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH, APRIL 1886.]
MY DEAR MRS. JENKIN, - The Book - It is all drafted: I hope soon to send you for comments Chapters III., IV., and V. Chapter VII. is roughly but satisfactorily drafted: a very little work should put that to rights. But Chapter VI. is no joke; it is a MARE MAGNUM: I swim and drown and come up again; and it is all broken ends and mystification: moreover, I perceive I am in want of more matter.