Father Payne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 442 pages of information about Father Payne.
which is most heavily punished is that of making a sacrifice without knowing if you can endure the consequences of it.  The people who begin by despising money as vulgar are generally the people who end by making a mess which other people have to sweep up.  So don’t be either silly or prudent about money, my boy!  Just realise that your first duty is not to be a burden on yourself or on other people.  Find out your minimum, and secure it if you can; and then don’t give the matter another thought.  If it is any comfort to you, reflect that the best authors and artists have almost invariably been good men of business, and don’t court squalor of any kind unless you really enjoy it.”



Father Payne, talking one evening, made a statement which involved an assumption that the world was progressing.  Rose attacked him on this point.  “Isn’t that just one of the large generalisations,” he said, “which you are always telling us to beware of?”

“It isn’t an assumption,” said Father Payne, “but a conviction of mine, based upon a good deal of second-hand evidence.  I don’t think it can be doubted.  I can’t array all my reasons now, or we should sit here all night—­but I will tell you one main reason, and that is the immensely increased peaceableness of the world.  Fighting has gone out in schools, and none but decayed clubmen dare to deplore it:  corporal punishment has diminished, and isn’t needed, because children don’t do savage things; bullying is extinct in decent schools; crimes of violence are much more rare; duelling is no longer a part of social life, except for an occasional farcical performance between literary men or politicians in France—­I saw an account of one in the papers the other day.  It was raining, and one of the combatants would not furl his umbrella:  his seconds said that it made him a bigger target.  “I may be shot,” he said, “but that is no reason why I should get wet!” Then there is the mediaeval nonsense among students in Germany, where they fence like Tweedledum and Tweedledee.  Generally speaking, however, the belief that a blow is an argument has gone out.  Then war has become more rare, and is more reluctantly engaged in.  I suppose that till the date of Waterloo there was hardly a year in history when some fighting was not going on.  No, I think it is impossible not to believe that the impulse to kick and scratch and bite is really on the decline.”

“But need that be a proof of progress?” said Rose.  “May it not only mean a decrease of personal courage, and a greater sensitiveness to pain?”

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Father Payne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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