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Lilith George MacDonald

I Am Silenced

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"Indeed I have gone far, and got nowhere, for I have not found my work! I left the children to learn how to serve them, and have only learned the danger they are in."

"When you were with them, you were where you could help them: you left your work to look for it! It takes a wise man to know when to go away; a fool may learn to go back at once!"

"Do you mean, sir, I could have done something for the Little Ones by staying with them?"

"Could you teach them anything by leaving them?"

"No; but how could I teach them? I did not know how to begin. Besides, they were far ahead of me!"

"That is true. But you were not a rod to measure them with! Certainly, if they knew what you know, not to say what you might have known, they would be ahead of you--out of sight ahead! but you saw they were not growing--or growing so slowly that they had not yet developed the idea of growing! they were even afraid of growing!--You had never seen children remain children!"

"But surely I had no power to make them grow!"

"You might have removed some of the hindrances to their growing!"

"What are they? I do not know them. I did think perhaps it was the want of water!"

"Of course it is! they have none to cry with!"

"I would gladly have kept them from requiring any for that purpose!"

"No doubt you would--the aim of all stupid philanthropists! Why, Mr. Vane, but for the weeping in it, your world would never have become worth saving! You confess you thought it might be water they wanted: why did not you dig them a well or two?"

"That never entered my mind!"

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"Not when the sounds of the waters under the earth entered your ears?"

"I believe it did once. But I was afraid of the giants for them. That was what made me bear so much from the brutes myself!"

"Indeed you almost taught the noble little creatures to be afraid of the stupid Bags! While they fed and comforted and worshipped you, all the time you submitted to be the slave of bestial men! You gave the darlings a seeming coward for their hero! A worse wrong you could hardly have done them. They gave you their hearts; you owed them your soul!--You might by this time have made the Bags hewers of wood and drawers of water to the Little Ones!"

"I fear what you say is true, Mr. Raven! But indeed I was afraid that more knowledge might prove an injury to them--render them less innocent, less lovely."

"They had given you no reason to harbour such a fear!"

"Is not a little knowledge a dangerous thing?"

"That is one of the pet falsehoods of your world! Is man's greatest knowledge more than a little? or is it therefore dangerous? The fancy that knowledge is in itself a great thing, would make any degree of knowledge more dangerous than any amount of ignorance. To know all things would not be greatness."

"At least it was for love of them, not from cowardice that I served the giants!"

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