Such censurers as these, whether they speak from their own guess or suspicion, or from the report and opinion of others, may properly be said to slander the reputation of the book they condemn.
The most undesigned word, the most accidental look, the least familiarity, the most innocent freedom, will be misconstrued, and magnified into I know not what, by some people. But I despise, my dear Graveairs, I despise all such slander. No such malice, I assure you, ever gave me an uneasy moment. No, no, I promise you I am above all that.
"Well, Ethel dear, you are handsome enough for the kind of men you'll pick up in this generation most of them bald at thirty, wearing spectacles at twenty or earlier, and in spite of the fuss they make about athletics breaking all to nervous bits about fifty." "Grandmother, that is pure slander. I know some very fine young men, handsome and athletic both."
But to those who had been detached from the crowd by the professions of friendship, those who, when the slander was yet new, and might have been awed into silence had they stood by my side, to the pressure of their hands, now, I had no response. Against Mrs. Poyntz, above all others, I bore a remembrance of unrelaxed, unmitigable indignation.
And then he paused to think what he was to do. To go out and face the slander which must already have crept forth on its way to see Elsworthy and ascertain whether he had come to his senses, and try if anything could be done for Rosa's discovery to exert himself somehow, in short, and get rid of the feverish activity which he felt consuming him, that was what he longed to do.
The slander that had blackened him in the esteem of his betrothed had, he naturally supposed, injured his reputation beyond hope of retrieval with her acquaintances. Rosa, her bosom companion, could not but have heard the whole history, yet met him with undiminished cordiality, as a valued friend.
Yet with all this blood on their hands, and all this crime on their consciences, they turn round and fling the epithet of "cruel" at the perennial victims of their malice. One of the most effective arts of priestcraft has been the misrepresentation and slander of heretics. To give the unbeliever a bad name is to prejudice believers against all communication with him.
At this time Bartholomew Columbus, another brother of the admiral, arrived with provisions, and the insurrectionists, taking possession of the ships, returned in them to Spain where they lost no opportunity to disparage the achievements of Columbus and to slander him and his brothers. The principal caciques of the island now formed an alliance and uniting their forces laid siege to Santo Tomas.
Eaton, who had aided in the original concoction of that foul slander, was appointed Secretary of War. Branch, who received the appointment of Secretary of the Navy, was one of the few Senators who had voted and spoken against the confirmation of Henry Clay to the office of Secretary of State in 1825; and Berrien, Attorney-General, was another.
And there are no friendships stronger than those formed in the Khyber and beyond no more loyal partnerships. The "Hills" are the home of contrasts, of blood-feuds that last until the last-but-one man dies, and of friendships that no crime or need or slander can efface. If the feuds are to be avoided like the devil, the friendships are worth having.