Quote Of The Day #53
Arthur was in love with Sybil. He was about to propose. Then he went to a party and met a palm reader, who told him that his palm showed that he was going to be a murderer.
Arthur was devastated at first. Then he got an idea–he had to commit the murder first and get away with it, before he could marry Sybil. He set his sight on his elderly aunt Clementina and gave her a pill for her heartburn, which was in reality a poison pill. Aunt Clementina died, but Arthur’s happiness was short lived. He found the poison pill still intact in his aunt’s pill box. She died of natural causes.
Arthur had to find his second target. He purchased a bomb, put it into a big wooden clock, and sent it as a gift to a distant relative. Unfortunately the bomb was not a real bomb–it caused harmless explosions that gave the relative’s family members, especially the kids, great entertainment.
In desperation, Arthur had to come up with more plans to kill people, but all ended up in miserable failure. And finally, he took a drastic measure…
This is the story titled, “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime” By Oscar Wilde. It is a very interesting short story and has many quotable lines:
She was a curious psychological study. Early in life she had discovered the important truth that nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretion; and by a series of reckless escapades, half of them quite harmless, she had acquired all the privileges of a personality… She was now forty years of age, childless, and with that inordinate passion for pleasure which is the secret of remaining young.
‘Oh, I see!’ said the Duchess, feeling very much relieved; ‘he tells fortunes, I suppose?’
‘And misfortunes, too,’ answered Lady Windermere, ‘any amount of them. Next year, for instance, I am in great danger, both by land and sea, so I am going to live in a balloon, and draw up my dinner in a basket every evening. It is all written down on my little finger, or on the palm of my hand, I forget which.’
‘But surely that is tempting Providence, Gladys.’
‘My dear Duchess, surely Providence can resist temptation by this time. I think every one should have their hands told once a month, so as to know what not to do. Of course, one does it all the same, but it is so pleasant to be warned…”
His reason revolted against it, and yet he felt that some tragedy was hanging over him, and that he had been suddenly called upon to bear an intolerable burden. Actors are so fortunate. They can choose whether they will appear in tragedy or in comedy, whether they will suffer or make merry, laugh or shed tears. But in real life it is different. Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualifications. The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.
And yet it was not the mystery, but the comedy of suffering that struck him; its absolute uselessness, its grotesque want of meaning. How incoherent everything seemed! How lacking in all harmony! He was amazed at the discord between the shallow optimism of the day, and the real facts of existence.
He had to choose between living for himself and living for others, and terrible though the task laid upon him undoubtedly was, yet he knew that he must not suffer selfishness to triumph over love. Sooner or later we are all called upon to decide on the same issue—of us all, the same question is asked. To Lord Arthur it came early in life—before his nature had been spoiled by the calculating cynicism of middle-age, or his heart corroded by the shallow, fashionable egotism of our day, and he felt no hesitation about doing his duty.