In the Wrong Paradise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about In the Wrong Paradise.
do him wrong.  The day will come when a woman shall unpunished see the face and name the name of her husband.  As the summers go by you will not bow down to the hyaenas, and the bears, and worship the adder and the viper.  You will not cut and bruise the bodies of your young men, or cruelly strike and seize away women in the darkness.  Yes, and the time will be when a man may love a woman of the same family name as himself”—­but here the outraged religion of the tribesmen could endure no longer to listen to these wild and blasphemous words.  A shower of spears flew out, and Why-Why fell across the body of Verva.  His own was “like a marsh full of reeds,” said the poet of the tribe, in a song which described these events, “so thick the spears stood in it.”

* * * * *

When he was dead, the tribe knew what they had lost in Why-Why.  They bore his body, with that of Verva, to the cave; there they laid the lovers—­Why-Why crowned with a crown of sea-shells, and with a piece of a rare magical substance (iron) at his side. {208} Then the tribesmen withdrew from that now holy ground, and built them houses, and forswore the follies of the medicine-men, as Why-Why had prophesied.  Many thousands of years later the cave was opened when the railway to Genoa was constructed, and the bones of Why-Why, with the crown, and the fragment of iron, were found where they had been laid by his repentant kinsmen.  He had bravely asserted the rights of the individual conscience against the dictates of Society; he had lived, and loved, and died, not in vain.  Last April I plucked a rose beside his cave, and laid it with another that had blossomed at the door of the last house which covered the homeless head of SHELLEY.

The prophecies of Why-Why have been partially fulfilled.  Brothers, if they happen to be on speaking terms, may certainly speak to their sisters, though we are still, alas, forbidden to marry the sisters of our deceased wives.  Wives may see their husbands, though in Society, they rarely avail themselves of the privilege.  Young ladies are still forbidden to call young men at large by their Christian names; but this tribal law, and survival of the classificatory system, is rapidly losing its force.  Burials in the savage manner to which Why-Why objected, will soon, doubtless, be permitted to conscientious Nonconformists in the graveyards of the Church of England.  The teeth of boys are still knocked out at public and private schools, but the ceremony is neither formal nor universal.  Our advance in liberty is due to an army of forgotten Radical martyrs of whom we know less than we do of Mr. Bradlaugh.


When I was poor, and honest, and a novelist, I little thought that I should ever be rich, and something not very unlike a Duke; and, as to honesty, but an indifferent character.  I have had greatness thrust on me.  I am, like Simpcox in the dramatis personae of “Henry IV.,” “an impostor;” and yet I scarcely know how I could have escaped this deplorable (though lucrative) position.  “Love is a great master,” says the “Mort d’Arthur,” and I perhaps may claim sympathy and pity as a victim of love.  The following unaffected lines (in which only names and dates are disguised) contain all the apology I can offer to a censorious world.

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In the Wrong Paradise from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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