Friday, December 30, 2005

Hadji Murad (Tolstoy)

Czar Nicholas:

“Continual brazen flattery from everybody round him, in the teeth of obvious facts, had brought him to such a state that he no longer saw his own inconsistencies, or measured his actions and words by reality, logic, or even by simple common sense; but was quite convinced that all of his orders, however senseless, unjust, and mutually contradictory they might be, became reasonable just and mutually accordant simply because he gave them.” P. 90

“Nicholas frowned. He had done much evil to the Poles. To justify that evil he had to be certain that all Poles were rascals, and he considered them to be such, and hated them accordingly in proportion to the evil he had done to them.” P. 91

“No one spoke of hatred of the Russians. The feeling experienced by all the Chechens, from the youngest to the oldest, was stronger than hate. It was not hatred, for they did not regard those Russian dogs as human beings; but it was such repulsion, disgust, and perplexity at the senseless cruelty of these creatures, that the desire to exterminate them – like the desire to exterminate rats, poisonous spiders, or wolves – was as natural an instinct as that of self preservation.”

“he remembered a Tavlinian fable about a falcon who had been caught and lived among men, and afterwards returned to his own kind in the hills. He returned, but wearing jesses with bells; and other falcons would not receive him. “Fly back to where they hung those silver bells on thee” said they. “We have no bells and no jesses.” The falcon did not want to leave his home, and remained; but the other falcons did not wish to let him stay there, and pecked him to death.”

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