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dropped into osculatory intimacy just out of sheer softness. What are you proposing to do in case you get her? Will you make a fortune for her, will you make a name for her, will you really deserve her and show the world that you did deserve her, or, after the customary lunar space of soft dalliance, will you both stare and wonder why you wanted one another at all?
This is the kind of a letter, perhaps, that tends to make a man angry, the kind that makes a breach in the oldest friendship, but it is not to be so between us. Poor me,
I am preaching a doctrine of courage to you, my small parish, with no hope of ever being able to exhibit any courage of a physical kind. You are bound to pity me. You are bound to feel that I am so little a man physically now, that these letters of mine to you are almost impersonal.
May I break in here to tell you that I have quite lost the use of my legs now; they merely dangle from my trunk? I am a baby, and I can see from the kindliness, the exaggerated gentleness of those who are about me, and of those who come to me, that they have heard that the image of death is behind me, and becoming more and more visible each week, perhaps each day, for aught I know. Now, my dear Douglas, a man like that has no vanities to guard, he has no prejudices to fight for, he has no enemies to punish. So far as a man can be, he is set apart from life and feels it as though it were the stream slipping away with the boat of his life to a harbour that he can almost see. Why, then, should I say the smallest word to offend you? How can you imagine me as other than embodied friendship, or as a poor parson struggling with the problems of his last parish?
Pardon that much even about myself, and let me bid you read what I have written to you here and in other of my letters carefully. I have no word of blame for the man who dares it all, who shouts alea jacta est and peers at the dice unafraid, to see whether he has won or lost. If you know what you want, believe you have a right to take it, trust yourself to deserve it once you have it and are willing to fight the battle through, come what may, why, then, mind you, my dear Douglas, I shall stand by until my frail skiff drifts out to sea for good. There is moral stamina in that way of facing the world, even though a man be wrong. For even all our ethical standards are man-made. What is right in Boston is not right in Bulgaria; what is right in Seringapatam is wrong in West Braintree.
Now, if you are big enough and brave enough to make your own right and wrong, you will find that the world will acknowledge you as one of its lawmakers. Alexander did it, Cæsar did it, Napoleon did it, Frederick the Great, Cromwell, Lincoln, Paul Jones, Catherine of Russia did it, men and women without number have done it, and more will do it. Such personalities are the world's medicines. The world, the soft, luxurious, conservative, fearful, calflike part of it, at least, shrinks from taking these bitter draughts at first, but takes them at last because it finds it must do so to keep in health. Justinian and Napoleon even take the whole body of laws by which men live and codify them.
Luther, with his hammer, and Erasmus,
with his rapier, upset and chase out of court the most powerful spiritual autocracy the world ever saw. The Wesleys and Whitefield make the great State Church of the Anglo-Saxon race ashamed, and the day is not far off when our coddled clergy and effeminate ministries will be swept into the sea by some band of consecrated men who dare to believe something, and who will sacrifice themselves to do something hard. This sentimental nonsense in the church, in morals, in philanthropy, about hurting people's feelings, hurting people's bodies, – this whole philosophy of pampering, which is the very body of death, will go. You know and I know, in our heart of hearts, that men who really mean business, no matter what their task or profession, think little of wages and salaries, eating and drinking, and society and the modern bugaboo of