Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/113

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104
SATIRES AND PROFANITIES.

would also tell the whole truth?—he quietly left off painting the features objected to, finished such as were agreeable to the public, and said with a cynical scorn (flavored perhaps with some bitterness of self-scorn), "So you don't want to see and hear the whole truth? Very well!" This author was revered by the great and noble-hearted Charlotte Brontë; this author was Thackeray, strong with all the prestige of Vanity Fair; he could not think of continuing a course injurious to his "circulation," so "Pendennis" is not almost worthy (as it might, else have been) to stand beside "Un Grande Homme de Province à Paris" of Balzac.

When such is Thackeray, what must be Gigadibs?

If I write this rather strongly it is because I feel that I am writing in the interest of strength and health and purity and freedom, at a time when the mass of our literature is infected with servile weakness and disease and that "obscenity, which is ever blasphemy against the divine beauty in life." For all obscene things batten on darkness, and light is fatal to them. But for the Bumble who rules over us, the naked beauty is obscene and the naked truth is blasphemous; he thinks that the Venus de Medici came out of Holywell Street, and is inclined to believe that all the fossil records of geology were forged by the Devil to throw discredit upon the book of Genesis. One cannot without a keen pang of shame and rage think of what we are when one remembers what we were, when one recalls our old and glorious literature, in the wide world unsurpassed; our literature noble and renowned, ever most glorious when most manly and daring.