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Full text of "G. K. Chesterton"

26                            G.  K.   CHESTERTON
who thought that science would take charge of the future ; and
just as the motor-car was quicker than the coach, so some lovely
thing would be quicker than the motor-car ; and so on for ever.
And there arose from their ashes Dr. Quilp, who said that a
man could be sent on his machine so fast round the world that
he could keep up a long, chatty conversation in some old-world
village by saying a word of a sentence each time he came round.
And it was said that the experiment had been tried on an
apoplectic old major, who was sent round the world so fast
that there seemed to be (to the inhabitants of some other star)
a continuous band round the earth of white whiskers, red
complexion and tweeds—a thing like the ring of Saturn.
Then there was the opposite school. There was Mr. Edward
Carpenter, who thought we should in a very short time return
to Nature, and live simply and slowly as the animals do. And
Edward Carpenter was followed by James Pickie, D.D. (of
Pocohontas College), who said that men were immensely
improved by grazing, or taking their food slowly and con-
tinuously, after the manner of cows. And he said that he had,
with the most encouraging results, turned city men out on all
fours in a field covered with veal cutlets. Then Tolstoy and
the Humanitarians said that the world was growing more
merciful, and therefore no one would ever desire to kill. And
Mr. Mick not only became a vegetarian, but at length declared
vegetarianism doomed (' shedding', as he called it finely, * the
green blood of the silent animals'), and predicted that men
in a better age would live on nothing but salt. And then came
the pamphlet from Oregon (where the thing was tried), and
the pamphlet called ' Why should Salt suffer ?' and there
was more trouble.
This formula was intensely annoying to those who were
annoyed by Chesterton. Dean Inge, with whom his
differences of opinion were deep, once described him
petulantly as * that obese mountebank, who crucifies Truth
head downwards'. To most people, the manner was less
irritating than this, though many, I think, would have
confessed that they sometimes found the relentless, unceasing
rain of paradoxes a little wearying. Sometimes, it was often
said, Chesterton's formula made the most brilliant and