only the fittest among nations and individuals

字体 -

“People who are poor enough to be obliged to work,” she spoke out her reflections to the lawyer, Henry Frantz, who happened to be sipping coffee with her, “have really purer and more wholesome views of life than—than we have” (she indicated, by a turn of her hand, the company at large). “I begin to understand, Mr. Frantz, why, in the history of nations, we see decay set in just as soon as a climax of prosperity has been reached. To survive the deadening influence of great wealth, well, it’s  who are strong enough to do it, isn’t it?”

“But it is only where there is a leisure class that we find art and culture,” suggested Mr. Frantz.

“The great minds and the great characters of the world, however, have never come from an environment of wealthy leisure. In our own country, has any one of our really great Presidents been educated in private schools? Nearly every citizen of eminent usefulness is a public school product.”

“A notable exception—your husband,” he replied.

“‘Citizen of eminent usefulness,’” she musingly experimented with her phrase. “Would Mr. Leitzel come under that head?”

“He’s a lawyer of state-wide, if not national, reputation, Mrs. Leitzel.”

“I know. Are they an eminently useful class—corporation lawyers? I merely ask for information. My ignorance on most subjects is unfathomable.”

“Well, we couldn’t get along without them.”

“Corporations couldn’t. But aren’t we beginning to think we could get along without corporations?”

“Boneheads may think so. It is civilization that has built up corporations, and every time a corporation is dissolved we take a backward step in civilization.”

“If public utilities,” said Margaret dogmatically, quoting her Uncle Osmond, “were conducted for the benefit not of corporations, but by the Government for the benefit of the whole people, we’d have a full treasury without taxing the people.”

Mr. Frantz looked at her and broke into irrepressible laughter. “Excuse me, Mrs. Leitzel, but that anything looking so girlish and pretty, that anything even remotely associated with my good friend Danny Leitzel, should be giving out remarks like that—well, it’s a little too much for me, you see! Did you and my friend Danny exchange views on social economics before you were married?”

“We didn’t have time to exchange views on anything. We knew each other just six weeks before we were married.”

“And have been getting acquainted since?”

“I’m inclined to think a six weeks’ acquaintance just as good as a lifetime one for finding out what kind of a mate your lover is going to make.”

“Exactly. No good at all, eh?”

“Not much,” she smiled.

“I wonder,” speculated Mr. Frantz, eying her curiously, “if there was ever a married pair whose ideal of each other grew higher after marriage. Think so?”

“Surely. Their lives being a daily unfolding of new beauties and excellences to each other.”

“Oh, but I’m afraid you’re a sentimentalist.”