All classes, all creatures, kind or cruel, still see this lowest stratum of society as separate from the upper strata and even the middle strata; he is as separate as the serf. A monster fallen from Mars, ignorant of our simplest word, would know the tramp was at the bottom of the ladder, as well as he would have known it of the serf.
The agricultural classes were serfs, who were bound to the land and compelled to work a certain part of each week for the lord without remuneration. The population was divided into strict social castes. Moreover, no noble could buy citizen or peasant land; no citizen, noble or peasant land; no peasant, noble or citizen land.
I used to count them when they rode home with my father and mother, or assembled for any of the many reasons for which "company" hung about our homes. I remember that it was an amusement to me to discover, "there are six to-day," or "five to-day," and to tell my Ayah. I was even more minute. I divided them into three classes: "the little ones, the middle ones, and the old ones."
Into the distribution between individuals and classes there enter other and variable factors, governed by no fundamental economic law; and here, the conclusion should at once suggest itself, is the field for action designed to alter the distribution of wealth. What is possible or desirable in this field, it is again not the purpose of this volume to discuss.
Its teachers are selected for efficiency they are easily shifted to the classes which they can teach best; and, if not successful, they go back willingly to the "teachers' class," where all are equal. The reputation of a good Sunday School teacher is still the highest degree that can be won in Wales.
Then the war came and I thought the desire of my heart was fulfilled. At last men talked about Russia as though she truly existed. For a moment all Russia was united, all classes, rich and poor, high and low. Men were patriotic together as though one heart beat through all the land. But only for a moment. Divisions came, and quickly things were worse than before.
"The end of the upper and the middle classes. Everybody will have to work for a living." "Who's going to be elected this fall?" asked Jane. "Your man?" "Yes," said Doctor Charlton. "Victor Dorn thinks not. But he always takes the gloomy view. And he doesn't meet and talk with the fellows on the other side, as I do." Hastings was looking out from under the vizor of his cap with a peculiar grin.
"What a beauty dwelt in each familiar face, What music hung on every voice!" Since reading is not a very general accomplishment among the lower classes, a system of signs answers in some degree as a substitute.
On this occasion I said nothing, but, concealing his poniard in my clothes, I hasted up the mountain, determined to execute my purpose before any misgivings should again visit me; and I never had more ado than in keeping firm my resolution. I could not help my thoughts, and there are certain trains and classes of thoughts that have great power in enervating the mind.
Moreover the monk was, by birth, education, and sympathy, one with the upper classes. Upon the townsmen whatever it may have been among the countrymen the ministers of religion exercised the smallest possible restraint.