Page:Path of Vision; pocket essays of East and West.djvu/83

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THE MOTHER OF COMMON SENSE

friends would be a little indifferent or even resentful, it would fare better with us. My immediate surroundings in those mountain solitudes were absurdly Christian, to say the least. My mother, my sister, and my brother, with whom I lived, idolized me, idealized even my defects and idiosyncracies. Yes, I have been made a tyrant by my own people; and had I the courage, I might have become an assassin or done violence even to myself. That stream"—this with a chuckle—"was not deep enough anywhere.

"But I too—I invoke your kind consideration—I too have been tyrannized by a principle: tolerance has always been the despot of my conduct. Even freedom has its fetters. For while everything seemed to clash, while I continually found myself out of sorts with everybody around me, I had to suffer them to do as they pleased, because it was my principle always to do as I please. And how much we have to tolerate for a principle, and from it, when we are too conscientious to be modest and

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