"'It shall be as you wish,'answered Hermes. 'As you go down the mountain into the plain, cover your faces with your mantles, and throw the bones of your mother behind you.'
It was inspiring to see the red-headed giant fling about him, and I found myself cheering him on.
There were some hospitals yet, but as one to a hundred of what used to be, of higher quality, and fuller usefulness. There were some of what I should have called prisons, though the life inside was not only as comfortable as that without, but administered with a stricter care for the advantage of those within.
Air-twisted Stems.—The air-twist probably began with a “tear.” The tear of the glass-blower is a bubble of air blown into the centre of a mass of molten glass, possibly at first by accident and afterwards by design, as a form of ornamentation. When the stem was
‘I did. But perhaps I was not justified in doing it.’
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Their loftiness and their uplift. I hate their uplift. I hate people prancing on mountain-tops and feeling exalted. I’d like to make them all stop up there, on their mountain-tops, and chew ice to fill their stomachs. I wouldn’t let them down again, I wouldn’t. I hate it all, I tell you; I hate it.’
But the real sting and substance of Major Barbara is much more practical and to the point. It expresses not the new spirituality but the old materialism of Bernard Shaw. Almost every one of Shaw’s plays is an expanded epigram. But the epigram is not expanded (as with most people) into a hundred commonplaces. Rather the epigram is expanded into a hundred other epigrams; the work is at least as brilliant in detail as it is in design. But it is generally possible to discover the original and pivotal epigram which is the centre and purpose of the play. It is generally possible, even amid that blinding jewellery of a million jokes, to discover the grave, solemn and sacred joke for which the play itself was written.
“Sure, George. I ain’t gonna say a word.”
sang Martha from her place at the end of a bench; and all the voices took up the hymn softly as the company sat with bowed heads.
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