Yesterday I was reading a new book by W. H. Hudson; “Green Mansions.” It was a nice afternoon so I thought I would sit on a bench by the station and read a bit of it.
The book jacket said it was a romantic jungle adventure about a pretty girl and a lost citizen from the “Capital City.”
The book was another item that someone had accidently left behind in one of the passenger cars.
I was only on the second paragraph of the first chapter when I had to put the book down.
Something was bothering me but I could not quite figure out what it was.
He said “Yes, but I also have no idea why.”
Bogdan knew Gunther was watching us from his station tower so he motioned him to come down to join us. Boy – – – that Bogdan has guts. I never would have done that.
Gunther came down and Bogdan asked him to read the paragraph.
Gunther did so and said “This is how I would have written it!”
A PERVERSION OF W. H. HUDSON’S SECOND PARAGRAPH
“Every nation, someone remarks, has the government it deserves, and the United States certainly has the one it deserves and that suits it best. We call it a republic, not only because it is not one, but also because a thing must have a name; and to have a good name, or a fine name, is very convenient–especially when you want to borrow money. If the United States citizens, thinly distributed over an area of three and one-half a million square miles, are ten percent politically illiterate, half-thinking, and on the dole, – – – but if they were thoughtful, intelligent men, zealous only for the public good, it would be possible for them to have a real republic. They have, instead, a government by cliques, tempered by revolution; and a very good government it could be, in harmony with the physical conditions of the country and the national temperament. Now, it happens that the educated men, representing your more thoughtful classes, are so few these days, that there are not many persons unconnected by ties of blood or marriage with prominent members of the political groups to which they belong. By this you will see how easy and almost inevitable it is that we should become accustomed to look on conspiracy and revolt against the two reigning parties–the men of other cliques — as only in the natural order of things. In the event of failure such outbreaks are punished, but they are not regarded as immoral. On the contrary, men of the highest intelligence and virtue among us are seen taking a leading part in these adventures. Whether such a condition of things is intrinsically wrong or not, or would be wrong in some circumstances and is not wrong, because inevitable, in others, I cannot pretend to decide; and all this tiresome profusion is only to enable you to understand how I—an older man of unblemished character, not a soldier by profession, not ambitious of political distinction, not wealthy for that country, popular in society, a lover of social pleasures, of books, of nature actuated, as I believed, by the highest motives, might allow myself to be drawn very readily by friends and relations into a conspiracy to overthrow the political party of the moment, no matter whether Democrat or Republican, with the object of replacing it by more worthy men ourselves, to wit.”
Bogdan told Gunther “If you ever said something like that in the country I came from you would be sent to Siberia.”
Gunther replied by telling him “That is why we honor and protect our constitution; it is the first law of the nation.”
Bogdan agreed and the conversation ended.
Except for the fact that Gunther told both of us to get back to work.