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of their maker, and so forth.” “Then why camest thou not in time, that I might not have done this deed ?” “As well mightest thou ask why did not the pain of the burn come in time to prevent the child from putting its hand into the fire. It is the constitution of thy nature.” “Unhappy constitution ! Cruel, cruel tormentor that tormentest me only when it is too late, when the deed is done, and the torment useless !” “Useless with respect to the past deed, but most useful with respect to the future.” “But the future deed will be as necessary as the past.” “Certainly; a similar desire or passion will produce a similar deed; but the similar desire or passion, before it can produce the similar deed, must be itself produced, and I prevent its production.” “Blessed, blessed Sorrow, I thank thee; go on, go on; I will complain no more.” And now let me consider again: I am sorry that I did the deed, and this sorrow is necessary or caused; as necessary, as caused, as the passion which caused the will to do the deed. What then causes this sorrow? To answer that question I must analyse my sorrow. What am I sorry for? For killing my brother. , Why should I be sorry for killing my brother? Why? Is it because I have lost my brother; a good, kind brother? Yes; but my sorrow is greater than could have been occasioned by the mere loss of my brother. If he had been killed by a
not have been equally sorry, I would not have sorrowed as I now sorrow. Am I sorry then because of the evil which has befallen my brother? Yes; but neither does that explain all my sorrow. I am sorrier than if he had died by the hand of another assassin, or been torn in pieces by a wild beast, yet the evil to him would have been the same. Why then do I sorrow more than for the loss I have myself sustained by my brother's death, more than for the evil which has befallen my brother? Why more? Let me think. My father and mother and sisters and every one who knows me will think worse of
me for what I have done. That is a great cause of sorrow. I have lost their good opinion for ever. That indeed is terrible. But why so terrible? I could not help it; the passion, which caused my will to do the deed, was caused. Will they not think of that, and forgive me? No; they cannot forgive me; it is impossible they should. They may indeed not inflict physical punishment on me, may not torture me, may not kill me, may not expel me from among them, but they cannot think of me as they did before. That is wholly impossible. They now know what they never knew before, that I am a man whose passion will carry him the length even of killing his own good and loving brother. How can any one ever love me more? It is impossible. I am a fallen man. But
I am not fallen, for I was always the same; would have done the same thing the day before, or a week before, or a month before, or a year before, or twenty years before, if the same occasion had arisen. The same cause would have produced the same passion, the same passion caused the will to perform the same act. I am therefore no worse than before; nay the very same as before; am not fallen; only fallen in men's estimation. Then they estimated me too highly before; and should I sorrow that they now know the truth of me, that they are no longer deceived; know that I am a man unsafe to live with, to come near, to have anything to do with: a man whom they should either shun, or expel from among them, or kill? Should I sorrow for this ? No; I should rather rejoice; rejoice that the truth is known of me; that my friends are no longer deceived about me; will be ware of me. That at least is a good consequence of my unhappy deed. If they had known it sooner the deed might have been prevented, and how happy had it been for me! my brother at least would still have been living. Their knowledge of me although too late to prevent that deed, is time enough to prevent a similar. Let me then not sorrow that men have now that true knowledge of my character, which will prevent them from trusting themselves in my society for the future. They will shun me, or expel me, or kill me. Let me rejoice if they do. I cannot blame them if they do. They do it in selfpreservation. They are not safe near me. They now know they are not, and if they are wise will punish me; not out of wrath or vengeance, as I killed my brother; but to preserve themselves from me, and to deter others from following my example. But cannot I excuse myself to them ? Let me think. Have I no excuse? Can I not silence their accusation as I silenced that of my own conscience? What did I tell Conscience? “I could not help it; my passion made my will do the deed, and my constitution, and education, and circumstances at the moment, caused my passion." This excuse satisfied my conscience, but did not satisfy my sorrow; will it satisfy men? Let me try: – "I could not help it. My will was made do the deed. I am not responsible. Ye cannot righteously either hate or punish me.” What do they answer? “Villain, we hate thee and punish thee, not because of the deed, but because the deed was done, even as thou thyself sayest, by thy will, and thy will made to do it by thy passion, and thy passion caused by thy constitution and education and circumstances at the moment. We will not keep among us a man of such a constitution and such an education and such consequent passion. Begone from amongst us, and be thankful that we don't kill thee as thou didst thy brother.” I have nothing to reply: out of my own mouth they condemn me. Better I had not been born! But is this all the cause of my sorrow? Has it no further cause ? Let me see. Not only has this act of mine displayed to men my true character, but to myself; I sorrow to find myself such a man as I am: to think that even before this deed I was such a man as this deed has proved me to be. I shudder at the very sight of myself, of what I have been even while no one, not even myself, so much as suspected it. My pride is humbled. I am a man of such constitution, such education, and such consequent passion, as wilfully to kill my own brother. “Wretch, hide thy face even from thyself. Happy for thee if men would kill thee before thou committest a worse act than even this! for as no one, not even thyself, could know beforehand that thy constitution, and education, and consequent passion, were such as would cause thee to commit this act, so no one, not even thyself, can know beforehand that thy constitution, and education, and consequent passion, are not such as to cause thee yet to commit an act even worse than this. Even by this one act how hast thou debased thyself in thine own eyes !” Let me console myself however with the reflection that I am no longer deceived about myself; that I know, better than ever I did before, my true character. Poor consolation! and yet something; for bad as it is to be base and vile, it is still worse to be base and vile, and believe myself noble and honorable.
Well then, is this the whole? The loss of my brother; the injury done to my brother; the loss of my own esteem, and of men's esteem, and the fear of men's vengeance. Is this the whole? Have I nothing more to lament? nothing more to fear? Will not my father's God punish me also ? will he not send fiends to torment me, to haunt me day and
me consider it well. First of all, can he? To be sure he can, for he is almighty; that is his very name, what my father calls him. Resistence and escape are alike hopeless. He can punish me if he will. But will he? Let me see. To be sure he will, for he is a terrible God, as terrible as he is strong; given to passion and anger, even as I am myself; vindictive like a man; hates like a man; remembers like a man; judges and punishes as if he were
a man; and only differs from man in his greater strength, and never forgiving – for he is justice itself, must execute, cannot remit or forgive; else he becomes injustice. Terrible God! he will punish me; and men's punishment will be as nothing to his punishment, not only on account of his unlimited power and infinite sternness, but on account of his immutability. Men may after a time forget me and my crime, but my father's God never forgets; never softens; never relents; never, never; is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. His revenge therefore lasts for ever, for ever and ever; death which puts an end to all other sorrow is ineffectual to put an end to this; for this terrible, this malignant, this irresponsible despot drags me out of that death which closes the sufferings even of the beast of the fields, and infuses into me a new and everlasting life, for the sole purpose of tormenting me everlastingly; of tormenting me everlastingly for no good either to myself, or to himself, or to mankind, or to any one, or to any thing, but merely to indulge the malignancy of his own nature: me the work of his own hands; me to whom he gives the irresistible inclination and the power to do the very thing which he commands me not to do, the very thing to which he attaches his everlasting punishment. Tyrant, it was not I that killed my brother, it was thou that killedst him: where is my brother, tyrant? what hast thou done with him ? The guilt is thine, not mine. I was but the club in thine hand: inflict thine eternal torment upon thyself. Cain, Cain, how spotless pure art thou in comparison with the monster – with the malignant, detestable, diabolical monster! But stay: whose God is this? Thy God, Cain ? believest thou in such a God? worshippest thou such a God? prayest thou to such a God? humblest thou thyself to such a God? to the inexorable, to the immutable, to the malignant, to the sole cause of all thy sorrow? No, I 'm not a fool: he is not my God: he is my father's God. Let my father, if he