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exercise. When a painter has a picture in his brain, or a poet a poem, when a Savonarola has a principle to fight for, or an engineer a bridge to build, or an Edison a problem to work out, or a lover a real love in his heart, he is glorified, and recks not of eating and drinking, thinks not of the soft things of life; he becomes the happy warrior who does, and dares, and dies if necessary
If this is what you stand for, I am with you! I lay aside any right or any desire to judge you from a professional standpoint. I waive the point of what the world may say, of what the world holds to be right even, and I bid you Godspeed if you are a king, ready for the consequences and responsibilities of a king who is about to carve out a kingdom for himself. You see I have a weakness for a real man, and have only
contempt for an amorous baby. You see, too, that I am not criticising, I am not passing judgment; I am leaving it all to you to decide. If you are dead in earnest, ready to risk everything, and you will risk everything, and then, above all, ready to bear your burden, and to take your knocks, and to shoulder your way through the crowd again with a bright eye, a cheerful smile, and a glad heart, then you are one of God's own children, with whom I have no business to interfere. He will take care of His own. You wrote in one of your letters that I trusted my own judgment; you intimated that I had no moments of hesitation in my moral or spiritual life. I need not say that is not altogether true. I am as weak as other men. But of a man's right to his own life, his own beliefs, his own God, of a man's right to be captain of his own soul, I have no shade of a shadow of a doubt. Few men dare accept such responsibilities; that's all I meant. But for the men who do, whether I agree with them or not, I have the most profound admiration. I deem them to be the salt of the earth; they give life its savour, make it taste good, and I will have no words with such men.
I would not have you think, in spite of all this, that I am not distressed by this last chapter of your life. If I were writing or talking to the woman, rather than to the man, in this particular case, I should not take the attitude I have taken with you. No woman has any right, unless she be one of those great Amazons, of which there are only a few in each century, to undertake a battle with the world. Unlike the man, she merely grasps at her new pleasure, and, getting it, loads it upon the back of him she loves, and leaves him to carry the whole burden. It must be so. Her heroism is not in taking up the burden, in swinging the sword, in defying the world, — her heroism must lie in giving up what she longs for, in pushing from her the passion, though it be as dear to her as to him, in saving the man from his own madness. It is as though one human being should consent to some perilous adventure, knowing that the partner in the affair must carry it through. Yes, I will go with you, says the maiden to the youth. They push off in their small boat, and it is he, not she, who must steer, must trim the sail, must meet the seas as they curl above him, and beat down upon him, and blind him with their spray. She merely loves him, but he must love her and shelter her, and have one arm ever ready for her, while at the same time he battles for his life. She must be a goddess, indeed, who will ask this of any man, or permit any man, no matter how fierce his passion, how enthusiastic his willingness, to sweep her away upon such a terrible journey.
There is, they tell me nowadays, a means of measuring the waves of light, of measuring the very act of thinking, of measuring even a man's nervousness, but, my dear boy, until there is a machine to measure the duration of love, of passion, of this fever of desire of man for woman, of woman for man, any such undertaking as yours is, of all things, the most problematical. No matter how godlike the man, no matter how angel-like the woman, what you want changes its raiment when it becomes what you have. Then comes the test, the strain. Then the woman knows the man as he knows himself, and the man knows the