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There are a million boys growing up in the United States who have never seen a saloon, and who will never know the handicap of liquor and this excellent condition will go on spreading over the country when the wet press and the paid propogandists of booze are forgotten. The abolition of the commercialized liquor trade in this country is as final as the abolition of slavery.
This is another thing which I really like investigating in my novels: what is it that makes an intimate society, that makes a society in which moral concern for others will be possible? Part of that I think are manners and ritual. We tried to get rid of manners, we tried to abolish manners in the ’60s. Manners were very, very old-fashioned and un-cool. And of course we didn’t realise that manners are the building blocks of proper moral relationships between people.
I don’t like people being rude. Bad manners and arrogance make me cross. People making others feel uncomfortable. And I really don’t like it in restaurants when people are rude or patronising to waiters. I feel like saying, ‘They’re not your slave’. But my knees only shake around once every five years. You’re safe, don’t worry.
I was told, continued Egremont, that an impassable gulf divided the Rich from the Poor; I was told that the Privileged and the People formed Two Nations, governed by different laws, influenced by different manners, with no thoughts or sympathies in common; with an innate inability of mutual comprehension.
Glorious bouquets and storms of applause are the trimmings which every artist naturally enjoys. but to move an audience in such a role, to hear in the applause that unmistakable note which breaks through good theatre manners and comes from the heart, is to feel that you have won through to life itself. Such pleasure does not vanish with the fall of the curtain, but becomes part of one’s own life.
The American war is over; but this far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens for these forms of government after they are established and brought to perfection.
As readers, we are seldom interested in the fine sentiments of a lesson learnt; we seldom care about the good manners of morals. Repentance puts an end to conversation; forgiveness becomes the stuff of moralistic tracts. Revenge – bloodthirsty, justice-hungry revenge – is the very essence of romance, lying at the heart of much of the best fiction.