This meant the development of a new culture, one to be founded on the American tradition of equality of opportunity. But culture was not a weed that grew overnight; it was a leaven that spread slowly and painfully, first inoculating a few who suffered and often died for it, that it might gradually affect the many. The spread of culture implied the recognition of leadership: democratic leadership, but still leadership. Leadership, and the wisdom it implied, did not reside in the people, but in the leaders who sprang from the people and interpreted their needs and longings.... He went on to discuss a part of the programme of the Citizens Union....
What struck me, as I laid down the typewritten sheets, was the extraordinary resemblance between the philosophies of Hermann Krebs and Theodore Watling. Only—Krebs’s philosophy was the bigger, held the greater vision of the two; I had reluctantly and rather bitterly to admit it. The appeal of it had even reached and stirred me, whose task was to refute it! Here indeed was something to fight for—perhaps to die for, as he had said: and as I sat there in my office gazing out of the window I found myself repeating certain phrases he had used—the phrase about leadership, for instance. It was a tremendous conception of Democracy, that of acquiescence to developed leadership made responsible; a conception I was compelled to confess transcended Mr. Watling’s, loyal as I was to him.... I began to reflect how novel all this was in a political speech—although what I have quoted was in the nature of a preamble. It was a sermon, an educational sermon. Well, that is what sermons always had been,—and even now pretended to be,—educational and stirring, appealing to the emotions through the intellect. It didn’t read like the Socialism he used to preach, it had the ring of religion. He had called it religion.
With an effort of the will I turned from this ironical and dangerous vision of a Hugh Paret who might have been enlisted in an inspiring struggle, of a modern yet unregenerate Saul kicking against the pricks, condemned to go forth breathing fire against a doctrine that made a true appeal; against the man I believed I hated just because he had made this appeal. In the act of summoning my counter-arguments I was interrupted by the entrance of Grierson. He was calling on a matter of business, but began to talk about the extracts from Krebs’s speech he had read in the Mail and State.
“What in hell is this fellow driving at, Paret?” he demanded. “It sounds to me like the ranting of a lunatic dervish. If he thinks so much of us, and the way we run the town, what’s he squawking about?”
I looked at Grierson, and conceived an intense aversion for him. I wondered how I had ever been able to stand him, to work with him. I saw him in a sudden flash as a cunning, cruel bird of prey, a gorged, drab vulture with beady eyes, a resemblance so extraordinary that I wondered I had never remarked it before. For he had the hooked vulture nose, while the pink baldness of his head was relieved by a few scanty tufts of hair.