England's Ideal, and Other Papers on Social Subjects

By Edward Carpenter | Go to book overview

DESIRABLE MANSIONS.

"The Widow Douglas, she took me for her son, and allowed she would civilise me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I lit out." -- Mark Twain.

AFTER all, why should we rail against the rich? I think if anything they should be pitied. In nine cases out of ten it is not a man's fault. He is born in the lap of luxury, he grows up surrounded by absurd and impossible ideas about life, the innumerable chains of habit and circumstance tighten upon him, and when the time comes that he would escape, he finds he cannot. He is condemned to flop up and down in his cage for the remainder of his days -- a spectacle of boredom, and a warning to gods and men.

I go into the houses of the rich. In the drawingroom I see chill weary faces, peaked features of illhealth; downstairs and in the kitchen I meet with rosy smiles, kissable cheeks, and hear sounds of song and laughter. What is this? Is it possible that the real human beings live with James below-stairs!

Often as I pass and see in suburb or country some "desirable mansion" rising from the ground, I think: That man is building a prison for himself. So it is --

-75-

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England's Ideal, and Other Papers on Social Subjects
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Works by Mr. Edward Carpent *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • England's Ideal. 1
  • Modern Money-Lending, And The Meaning of Dividends. 23
  • Social Progress And Individual Effort. 55
  • Desirable Mansions. 75
  • Simplification of Life. 95
  • Does It Pay? 121
  • Trade. 128
  • Private Property. 139
  • The Enchanted Thicket. 166
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