"Yes, I will tell you," he replied slowly, "although in all my life no crueller duty has fallen on me. It is because we in Grenoble are old-fashioned in our views of morality, and I thank God we are so. It is because you have married a divorced woman under circumstances that have shocked us. The Church to which I belong, and whose teachings I respect, does not recognize such a marriage.
What Robin did not know for it was not likely to disturb the Manor was that something far crueller than Norris was claiming the anxiety of the Mill workers. A malignant epidemic had lifted its ugly head and had crept stealthily into several homes, claiming its victims in more than one.
Then his wife called out: 'Shall I wring her neck? 'Certainly not, replied her husband, 'that would be far too easy a death for her; she must die in a far crueller fashion than that. I will eat her alive; and he suited the action to his words.
In fact, until some first-hand knowledge of Western systems and procedure was obtained, the vindictive as opposed to the reformatory idea of punishments continued to obtain in China down to quite recent years, and has not yet entirely disappeared. Though the crueller forms of punishment had been legally abolished, they continued to be used in many parts.
For your neighbour's sake, I say; and again, for your children's sake; for the sake of all with whom you have to do, be honest and brave. For our children O my friends, we cannot do a crueller thing by them than to let them see that we are inconsistent.
Why do you keep us both, Mr. Thew, in such a state of uneasiness? You give us so little of your real confidence, so little of your real self. Sometimes it seems as though you deliberately try to make yourself out a harder, crueller person than you really are. Why do you do that?"
And the voice I seemed to hear was not his only, it was the voice of my own life, only far stronger and crueller than I had ever known it. "Cruel! I hardly know what I am writing who has been cruel! I! only I! To open the old wounds to make him glad for an hour then to strike and leave him could anything be more pitiless?
There was a wave of indignation, which was a hundred years in passing, when musketry first came into use, and a man-at-arms of great prowess could be killed from behind a wall by one who would not have dared to meet him in open combat. But these changes did not, in effect, make war crueller or more deadly.
The crueller were they that, when you stood up claiming your right to die, they broke the bargain and cheated you." "Princess," I said, after musing a moment, "if my surviving seemed to you so pitiable, there was another way." I pointed to her musket.
This was the appalling fate reserved for convicted women in such cases, and on conviction even of smaller crimes. The process was even crueller in instances where the crime had been particularly atrocious. ``The criminal, says the Pitcairn account of such punishment, ``was `brunt quick'!