Page:Germ Growers.djvu/149

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144
THE GERM GROWERS.

times with a bitter air of desperation. Then he looked at me with an air of inquiry.

After a long pause I said,

"I see, Signor Davelli, that you are not a materialist."

"Materialist?" he said, with a very unpleasant mixture of smile and sneer. "No; materialism is very well for a beginning; but one must face the facts at last if one is to deal with them at all successfully."

"But," said I, "some teach that matter is the very ultimate of all fact."

"It is perhaps well," he said, with a renewal of the same sneer and smile, "that they should teach so, but you and I know better; matter is evidence of the fact, but not the fact itself."

"And free will in your view is real?"

"Yes, it is real, doubtless, although so given as to make it for all but the very boldest practically unreal."

"So given, you say; it is a gift then?"

"Yes, it is a gift, if you call that 'given' which you use at your peril."

"And who gives it?" said I.

"Never mind that," he said, with a bitter scowl, which recalled for the moment, his malignant expression of the day but one before. "Call Him the Giver: