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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

For Aaron was considered a special man


"Is

it pretty much the same out there in India?" he asked of the doctor, suddenly.

The doctor started, and attended to him on his own level.

"Probably," he answered. "It is worse."

"Worse!" exclaimed Aaron Sisson. "How's that?"

"Why, because, in a way the people of India have an easier time even than the people of England. Because they have no responsibility. The British Government takes the responsibility. And the people have nothing to do, except their bit of work--and talk perhaps about national rule, just for a pastime."

"They have to earn their living?" said Sisson.

"Yes," said the little doctor, who had lived for some years among the colliers, and become quite familiar with them. "Yes, they have to earn their living--and then no more. That's why the British Government is the worst thing possible for them. It is the worst thing possible. And not because it is a bad government. Really, it is not a bad government. It is a good one--and they know it--much better than they would make for themselves, probably. But for that reason it is so very bad."

The little oriental laughed a queer, sniggering laugh. His eyes were very bright, dilated, completely black. He was looking into the ice-blue, pointed eyes of Aaron Sisson. They were both intoxicated--but

grimly so. They looked at each other in elemental difference.

The whole room was now attending to this new conversation: which they all accepted as serious. For Aaron was considered a special man, a man of peculiar understanding, even though as a rule he said little.

"If it is a good government, doctor, how can it be so bad for the people?" said the landlady.

The doctor's eyes quivered for the fraction of a second, as he watched the other man. He did not look at the landlady.

"It would not matter what kind of mess they made--and they would make a mess, if they governed themselves, the people of India. They would probably make the greatest muddle possible--and start killing one another. But it wouldn't matter if they exterminated half the population, so long as they did it themselves, and were responsible for it."

Again his eyes dilated, utterly black, to the eyes of the other man, and an arch little smile flickered on his face.

"I think it would matter very much indeed," said the landlady. "They had far better NOT govern themselves."

She was, for some reason, becoming angry. The little greenish doctor emptied his glass, and smiled again.

"But what difference does it make," said Aaron Sisson, "whether they govern themselves or not? They only live till they die, either way." And he smiled faintly. He had not really listened to the doctor. The terms "British Government," and "bad for the people--good for the people," made him malevolently angry.

The doctor was nonplussed for a moment. Then he gathered himself together.


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