I could have done even better, miss, and I'd know a lot more, if it wasn't for my destiny ever since childhood. I'd have killed a man in a duel with a pistol for calling me low-born, because I came from Stinking Lizaveta without a father, and they were shoving that in my face in Moscow. It spread there thanks to Grigory Vasilievich. Grigory Vasilievich reproaches me for rebelling against my nativity: 'You opened her matrix,' he says. I don't know about her matrix, but I'd have let them kill me in the womb, so as not to come out into the world at all, miss.
All the golden societies of the past to which historians point and turn their wistful smiles have had what patience-players would call a discard pile. They operated on two levels with a slave class who worked, ate, slept, and died and a leisured class who reclined on one elbow and spoke. Naturally it is from this latter group that we learn what life at that time was like. It often makes charming reading but we can hardly take it to be the whole truth.
An old joke has an Oxford professor meeting an American former graduate student and asking him what he's working on these days. 'My thesis is on the survival of the class system in the United States.' 'Oh really, that's interesting: one didn't think there was a class system in the United States.' 'Nobody does. That's how it survives.
Takamasa Saegusa: 'Seigen, a mere member of the Toudouza, had the effrontery to sully the sacred dueling ground. For that reason, our lord had already decided to subject him to tu-uchi before long. Cut off his head immediately, and stick it on a pike!'Gennosuke could hardly believe his ears. Such an insult to Irako Seigen was unwarranted. It was pride. For Gennosuke, Irako Seigen was pride itself.Takamasa Saegusa: 'Fujiki Gennosuke! It is the way of the samurai to take the head of the defeated enemy on the battleground. Do not hesitate! If you are a samurai, you must carry out the duty of a samurai!'Samurai...Saegusa, Lord of Izu, continued shouting, but Gennosuke did not attend. That word 'samurai' alone reverberated through his body.If one aims at the juncture between the base of the skull and the spine, decapitation is not that difficult, but Gennosuke could muster no more strength than a baby. He grew pale and trembled with the strain. He could only hack with his sword as if he were sawing wood. He felt nauseated, as if his own cells one after another were being annihilated. But this...Lord Tokugawa Tadanaga: 'I approve.'Takamasa Saegusa: 'Fujiki Gennosuke, for this splendid action you have received words of thanks from our lord. As a sign of his exceptional approval, you shall be given employment at Sunpu Castle. This great debt will by no means be forgotten. From this day forward you must offer your life to our lord!'Prostrating himself, Gennosuke vomited.
She observed the dumb-show by which her neighbour was expressing her passion for music, but she refrained from copying it. This was not to say that, for once that she had consented to spend a few minutes in Mme. de Saint-Euverte's house, the Princesse des Laumes would not have wished (so that the act of politeness to her hostess which she had performed by coming might, so to speak, 'count double') to shew herself as friendly and obliging as possible. But she had a natural horror of what she called 'exaggerating,' and always made a point of letting people see that she 'simply must not' indulge in any display of emotion that was not in keeping with the tone of the circle in which she moved, although such displays never failed to make an impression upon her, by virtue of that spirit of imitation, akin to timidity, which is developed in the most self-confident persons, by contact with an unfamiliar environment, even though it be inferior to their own. She began to ask herself whether these gesticulations might not, perhaps, be a necessary concomitant of the piece of music that was being played, a piece which, it might be, was in a different category from all the music that she had ever heard before; and whether to abstain from them was not a sign of her own inability to understand the music, and of discourtesy towards the lady of the house; with the result that, in order to express by a compromise both of her contradictory inclinations in turn, at one moment she would merely straighten her shoulder-straps or feel in her golden hair for the little balls of coral or of pink enamel, frosted with tiny diamonds, which formed its simple but effective ornament, studying, with a cold interest, her impassioned neighbour, while at another she would beat time for a few bars with her fan, but, so as not to forfeit her independence, she would beat a different time from the pianist's.
What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month, and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are generally given 'class' labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing 'class' makes class itself a nebulous concept. Yet the intelligentsia are habituated, if not addicted, to seeing the world in class terms.
You had to have these peasant leaders quickly in this sort of war and a real peasant leader might be a little too much like Pablo. You couldn't wait for the real Peasant Leader to arrive and he might have too many peasant characteristics when he did. So you had to manifacture one. At that, from what he had seen of Campesino, with his black beard, his thick negroid lips, and his feverish, staring eyes, he thought he might give almost as much trouble as a real peasant leader. The last time he had seen him he seemed to have gotten to believe his own publicity and think he was a peasant.
Theban who acquires his wealth by inheritance builds his mansion with the weak poor's money. The clergyman erects his temple upon the graves and bones of the devoted worshippers. The prince grasps the fellah's arms while the priest empties his pocket; the ruler looks upon the sobs of the fields with frowning face, and the bishop consoles them with his smile, and between the frown of the tiger and the smile of the wolf the flock is perished; the ruler claims himself as king if the law, and the priest as the representative if god, and between these two, the bodies are destroyed and the souls wither into nothing.
In theory at any rate each militia was a democracy and not a hierarchy . It was understood that orders had to be obeyed, but it was also understood that when you gave an order you gave it as comrade to comrade and not as superior to inferior. There were officers and NCOs, but there was no military rank in the ordinary sense; not titles, no badges, no heel-clicking and saluting. They had attempted to produce within the militias a sort of temporary working model of the classless society.