With people of such pure religious dedication, and such exalted views, it was perhaps not difficult to treat their ex-slaves as human beings, and the fact that they did so may not excite much wonder. But there came a time, then far in their future, when the sincerity of their convictions upon this matter of prejudice was most triumphantly vindicated.
We, in our balcony, carried on a civil war against one another's torches, as is the custom of human beings, within even the narrowest precincts; but after a while we grew tired, and so did the crowd, apparently; for the lights vanished, one after another, till the gas-lights which at first were an unimportant part of the illumination shone quietly out, overpowering the scattered twinkles of the moccoli.
Now it is too late! I have wounded and humiliated her; I have driven away Claudet, who would at any rate have made her a stalwart lover, and I have made two beings unhappy, without counting myself. So much for my miserable shufflings and evasion! Ah! if one could only begin life over again!"
The inhabitants of this region are among the lowest in the scale of human beings, living in wretched hovels, composed often merely of boughs and leaves, their only clothing scanty pieces of skin, worn on one side, to defend themselves from the icy winds.
In a word, Frances Baudoin was one of those pure, but uninstructed and credulous beings, who may sometimes, in skillful and dangerous hands, become, without knowing it, the instruments of much evil.
Now, all these sorts of work were performed by time workers, who, as a natural consequence of the wages they received, were the most miserable of human beings. Husband, wife, and family all worked at it; they just tried to breathe upon it; to live it never could be called.
We are beings strongly individualized, we are dominated by that passion which is no more and no less than individuality in action, jealousy. Jealousy is a fierce insistence on ourselves, an instinctive intolerance of our fellow-creatures, ranging between an insatiable aggression as its buoyant phase and a savage defensiveness when it is touched by fear.
In a few days I reached Nantes, where for some time I enjoyed, in every respect, all the happiness which one feels when those beloved beings from whom one had been long severed, and who formed the last living ties of affection for an unhappy being who had been severely tried by a capricious destiny.
It is heartbreaking to know what is going on at our own doors, for, however we may shuffle and blink, we cannot disguise the fact that many millions of human beings who might be saved pass their lives in an obscene hell and they live so in merry England.
"No, but who else? It seems to me a human being is singing, a woman is singing, and others are laughing and shouting something. Is that all nothing but the wind?" "Only the wind." "Why does the wind deceive me?" says Haggart haughtily. "It feels lonesome, Noni, just as I do, and it laughs at the human beings. Have you heard the wind lying like this and mocking in the open sea?