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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 175

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debtor. This mere dejection, however, which was after all useless, in time gave way to reflections that were more profitable. I thought of our modern Eadicals, of our sentimental believers in the natural goodness of man, and of what a lesson these people might learn from Cyprus. Here were no wicked plutocrats, no hereditary aristocracy. The mer-chant princes and the nobles of the Middle Ages had gone. They had not left even the memory of their names behind, and modern times had produced no class to replace them. The larger part of the population owned the larger part of the soil. They worked by themselves and for themselves. They had no example except their own to corrupt them, and no oppression except that of the necessary tax-gatherer. They lived, in fact, under the Eadical's ideal conditions ; and yet crimes, which included crimes of the most brutal and degraded character, occurred amongst them with a frequency not to be matched in any country of aristocratic and capitalistic Europe. Surely this in itself is enough to show how false, or at best how insufficient, is the theory, that the wickedness of the many is caused by the artificial oppressions of the few. If a man wishes to ensure the bad opinion of others, his best course probably is to be honest about himself. At the risk of achieving this result, though I do not profess to be anxious for it, I am going to indulge in a piece of honesty here. I am 172 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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