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Lige now loomed up in the distance, and the nearer I got, the more civilians I met. They all wore a white armlet, and walked timidly and nervously by the side of the road or street, starting at39 each thunder-clap of the guns. Near the entrance to the town a small crowd stood on one of the hills, looking at a flying-machine moving from fort to fort and over the city, obviously investigating the effect of the German siege-guns."What do you want herewhat are you here for?"
131I asked and got the commander's permission to travel to Lige by military train, and from there to The Netherlands, not only for myself, but also for a Netherland girl of nine years, whose parents in Amsterdam had repeatedly and persistently asked me to see whether there would be any possibility of letting their little girl come back from a Louvain boarding-school. The Sisters with whom she was let her go with me when I showed them a letter208 from her father. That child had already seen a good deal! The Sisters had fled with all the children at the time of the conflagration, and hidden themselves for days in a farm in the neighbourhood.
"What the devil!"
Prodicus was born in Ceos, a little island belonging to the Athenian confederacy, and seems to have habitually resided at Athens. His health was delicate, and he wrapped up a good deal, as we learn from the ridicule of Plato, always pitiless to a valetudinarian.F Judging from two allusions in Aristophanes, he taught natural science in such a manner as to conciliate even that unsparing enemy of the new learning.58 He also gave moral instruction grounded on the traditional ideas of his country, a pleasing specimen of which has been preserved. It is conveyed under the form of an apologue, entitled the Choice of Heracls, and was taken down in its present form by Xenophon from the lips of Socrates, who quoted it, with full approval, for the benefit of his own disciples. Prodicus also lectured on the use of words, laying especial emphasis on the distinction of synonyms. We hear, not without sympathy, that he tried to check the78 indiscriminate employment of awful (δειν??), which was even more rife at Athens than among ourselves.G Finally, we are told that, like many moderns, he considered the popular divinities to be personifications of natural phenomena. Hippias, who was a native of Elis, seems to have taught on very much the same system. It would appear that he lectured principally on astronomy and physics, but did not neglect language, and is said to have invented an art of memory. His restless inquisitiveness was also exercised on ancient history, and his erudition in that subject was taxed to the utmost during a visit to Sparta, where the unlettered people still delighted in old stories, which among the more enlightened Greeks had been superseded by topics of livelier and fresher interest. At Sparta, too, he recited, with great applause, an ethical discourse under the form of advice given by Nestor to Neoptolemus after the capture of Troy. We know, on good authority, that Hippias habitually distinguished between natural and customary law, the former being, according to him, everywhere the same, while the latter varied from state to state, and in the same state at different times. Natural law he held to be alone binding and alone salutary. On this subject the following expressions, evidently intended to be characteristic, are put into his mouth by Plato:All of you who are here present I reckon to be kinsmen and friends and fellow-citizens, by nature and not by law; for by nature like is akin to like, whereas law is the tyrant of mankind, and often compels us to do many things which are against Nature.59 Here two distinct ideas are implied, the idea that Nature is a moral guide, and, further, the idea that she is opposed to convention. The habit of looking for examples and lessons to some simpler life than their own prevailed among the Greeks from a very early period, and is, indeed, very common in primitive societies. Homers similes are a case in point; while all that we are told79 about the innocence and felicity of the Aethiopians and Hyperboreans seems to indicate a deep-rooted belief in the moral superiority of savage to civilised nations; and Hesiods fiction of the Four Ages, beginning with a golden age, arises from a kindred notion that intellectual progress is accompanied by moral corruption. Simonides of Amorgus illustrates the various types of womankind by examples from the animal world; and Aesops fables, dating from the first half of the sixth century, give ethical instruction under the same disguise. We have already pointed out how Greek rural religion established a thorough-going connexion between physical and moral phenomena, and how Heracleitus followed in the same track. Now, one great result of early Greek thought, as described in our first chapter, was to combine all these scattered fugitive incoherent ideas under a single conception, thus enabling them to elucidate and support one another. This was the conception of Nature as a universal all-creative eternal power, first superior to the gods, then altogether superseding them. When Homer called Zeus the father of gods and men; when Pindar said that both races, the divine and the human, are sprung from one mother (Earth);60 when, again, he spoke of law as an absolute king; or when Aeschylus set destiny above Zeus himself;61 they were but foreshadowing a more despotic authority, whose dominion is even now not extinct, is perhaps being renewed under the title of Evolution. The word Nature was used by most philosophers, and the thing was implied by all. They did not, indeed, commit the mistake of personifying a convenient abstraction; but a conception which they substituted for the gods would soon inherit every attribute of divine agency. Moreover, the Nature of philosophy had three fundamental attributes admitting of ready application as ethical standards. She was everywhere the same; fire burned in Greece and Persia alike. She tended towards an80 orderly system where every agent or element is limited to its appropriate sphere. And she proceeded on a principle of universal compensation, all gains in one direction being paid for by losses in another, and every disturbance being eventually rectified by a restoration of equilibrium. It was, indeed, by no means surprising that truths which were generalised from the experience of Greek social life should now return to confirm the orderliness of that life with the sanction of an all-pervading law."Found anything out, mate?" another officer asked.
"Ah well, you come from The Netherlands; tell me whether it is true that you have let the Germans through, allowing them to ravish us? Tell me whether this is true?"
Nothing mattered now, the thing was done, the victory accomplished. In a vague kind of way Hetty heard the cry of rage and disappointment uttered by her companion, she felt the key snatched with cruel force from her hand, there was a whirl of draperies and footsteps flying down the stairs.