These are not the pretensions indeed of the present system such as it is, but they are the facts. And even the present disorder, one gathers, is unstable. One hears on every hand of its further decadence. From Father Vaughan to President Roosevelt, and volleying from the whole bench of bishops, comes the witness to that. Not only the old breaches grow wider and more frequent, but in the very penetralia of the family the decay goes on. The birth-rate falls—and falls. The family fails more and more in its essential object. This is a process absolutely independent of any Socialist propaganda; it is part of the normal development of the existing social and economic system. It makes for sterilization, for furtive wantonness and dishonour. The existing system produces no remedies at all. Prominent people break out ever and again into vehement scoldings
"Compared with what’s the matter with you," drawled McGilead, unruffled, “there’s nothing at all the matter with him. Didn’t anybody ever tell you how unsportsmanlike it is to argue a judge’s decision in the ring? It’s against the A.K.C. rules, too. I’m always glad, later, to explain my rulings to any one who asks me civilly. Since you want to know what’s the matter with your dog, I’ll tell you. He has spaniel ears. Fault number one. He is cow-hocked. Fault number two. He is apple-domed, and he’s cheeky and he has a snipe-nose. Faults three, four and five. He’s long-bodied and swaybacked and over-shot and his undercoat is as thin as your own sportsmanship. He carries his tail high over his back, too. And his outer coat is almost curly. Those are all the faults I can see about him just now. He’ll never win anything in any A.K.C. show. It’s only fair to tell you that; to save you further money and to save you from another such dirty breach of sportsmanship. That’s all.”
“Let me look after them,” said Amos. “I watched the man who did the job last night, and I think I’ve got it all down pat.”
It is in the hearts of many men and women——let me add children——that there is a Great Secret waiting for them,——a secret of which they get hints now and then, perhaps oftener in early than in later years. These hints come sometimes in dreams, sometimes in sudden startling flashes,——second wakings, as it were,——a waking out of the waking state, which last is very apt to be a half-sleep. I have many times stopped short and held my breath, and felt the blood leaving my cheeks, in one of these sudden clairvoyant flashes. Of course I cannot tell what kind of a secret this is; but I think of it as a disclosure of certain relations of our personal being to time and space, to other intelligences, to the procession of events, and to their First Great Cause. This secret seems to be broken up, as it were, into fragments, so that we find here a word and there a syllable, and then again only a letter of it; but it never is written out for most of us as a complete sentence, in this life. I do not think it could be; for I am disposed to consider our beliefs about such a possible disclosure rather as a kind of premonition of an enlargement of our faculties in some future state than as an expectation to be fulfilled for most of us in this life. Persons, however, have fallen into trances,——as did the Reverend William Tennent, among many others,——and learned some things which they could not tell in our human words.
“I wish you wouldn’t sell it, George,” she said, in a low voice. “It’s been in the family so long.” She waited, as though for a reply, but when none came her face hardened. She shrugged her shoulders. “I must go and dress. I suppose I had better display ‘the goods.’” She turned to Poirot with a slight grimace. “It’s one of the most hideous necklaces that was ever designed! George has always promised to have the stones reset for me, but it’s never been done.” She left the room.
To the English translation of the History of Botany of Julius von Sachs.
“What says the master detective, eh?” asked Hawker, clapping him on the back. “Nothing to work your grey cells over this time.”
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