Of course, she could not waste tenderness on this man, for shehad deliberately set out to make him the instrument of hervengeance against his father. For that very reason, she sufferedmuch from a conscience newly clamorous. Never for an instant didshe hesitate in her long-cherished plan of revenge against thefilecoin mining calculatorone who had brought ruin on her life, yet, through all hersatisfaction before the prospect of final victory after continueddelay, there ran the secret, inescapable sorrow over the factthat she must employ this means to attain her end. She had nothought of weakening, but the better spirit within her warredagainst the lust to repay an eye for an eye. It was the newGospel against the old Law, and the fierceness of the strugglerent her. Just now, the doing of the kindly act seemed somehow togratify not only her maternal instinct toward service of love,but, too, to muffle for a little the rebuking voice of her inmostsoul.
The Dolphin was rapidly equipped, her rigging was ready, and there was nothing to do but fit her up. She carried three schooner-masts, an almost useless luxury; in fact, the Dolphin did not rely on the wind to escape the Federalists, but rather on her powerful engines.adventure gold iconTowards the end of December a trial of the steamer was made in the gulf of the Clyde. Which was the more satisfied, builder or captain, it is impossible to say. The new steamer shot along wonderfully, and the patent log showed a speed of seventeen miles an hour, a speed which as yet no English, French, or American boat had ever obtained. The Dolphin would certainly have gained by several lengths in a sailing match with the fastest opponent.
The loading was begun on the 25th of December, the steamer having ranged along the steamboat-quay a little below Glasgow Bridge, the last which stretches across the Clyde before its mouth. Here the wharfs were heaped with a heavy cargo of clothes, ammunition, and provisions which were rapidly carried to the hold of the Dolphin. The nature of this cargo betrayed the mysterious destination of the ship, and the house of Playfair could no longer keep it secret; besides, the Dolphin must not be long before she started. No American cruiser had been signalled in English waters; and, then, when the question of getting the crew came, how was it possible to keep silent any longer? They could not embark them, even, without informing the men whither they were bound, for, after all, it was a matter of life and death, and when one risks one's life, at least it is satisfactory to know how and wherefore.However, this prospect hindered no one; the pay was good, and everyone had a share in the speculation, so that a great number of the finest sailors soon presented themselves. James Playfair was only embarrassed which to choose, but he chose well, and in twenty-four hours his muster-roll bore the names of thirty sailors who would have done honour to her Majesty's yacht.The departure was settled for the 3rd of January; on the 31st of December the Dolphin was ready, her hold full of ammunition and provisions, and nothing was keeping her now.The skipper went on board on the 2nd of January, and was giving a last look round his ship with a captain's eye, when a man presented himself at the fore part of the Dolphin, and asked to speak with the Captain. One of the sailors led him on to the poop.He was a strong, hearty-looking fellow, with broad shoulders and ruddy face, the simple expression of which ill-concealed a depth of wit and mirth. He did not seem to be accustomed to a seafaring life, and looked about him with the air of a man little used to being on board a ship; however, he assumed the manner of a Jack-tar, looking up at the rigging of the Dolphin, and waddling in true sailor fashion.
When he had reached the Captain, he looked fixedly at him, and said, "Captain James Playfair?""The same," replied the skipper. "What do you want with me?"If only she had a newspaper!
As time passed, she started to look around. She got a couple of glances in return. For a moment Sophie felt like a young woman. She was only fifteen, but she could certainly have passed for seventeen--or at least, sixteen and a half.She wondered what all these people thought about being alive. They looked as though they had simply dropped in, as though they had just sat down here by chance. They were all talking away, gesticulating vehemently, but it didn't look as though they were talking about anything that mattered.She suddenly came to think of Kierkegaard, who had said that what characterized the crowd most was their idle chatter. Were all these people living at the aesthetic stage? Or was there something that was existentially important to them?In one of his early letters to her Alberto had talked about the similarity between children and philosophers. She realized again that she was afraid of becoming an adult. Suppose she too ended up crawling deep down into the fur of the white rabbit that was pulled out of the universe's top hat!
She kept her eyes on the door. Suddenly Alberto walked in. Although it was midsummer, he was wearing a black beret and a gray hip-length coat of herringbone tweed. He hurried over to her. It felt very strange to meet him in public."It's quarter past twelve!"
"It's what is known as the academic quarter of an hour. Would you like a snack?"He sat down and looked into her eyes. Sophie shrugged."Sure. A sandwich, maybe."Alberto went up to the counter. He soon returned with a cup of coffee and two baguette sandwiches with cheese and ham.
"Was it expensive?""A bagatelle, Sophie.""Do you have any excuse at all for being late?""No. I did it on purpose. I'll explain why presently."
He took a few large bites of his sandwich. Then he said:"Let's talk about our own century."
"Has anything of philosophical interest happened?""Lots ... movements are going off in all directions We'll start with one very important direction, and that is existentialism. This is a collective term for several philosophical currents that take man's existential situation as their point of departure. We generally talk of twentieth-century existential philosophy. Several of these existential philosophers, or existentialists, based their ideas not only on Kierkegaard, but on Hegel and Marx as well."
"Uh-huh.""Another important philosopher who had a great influence on the twentieth century was the German Friedrich Nietzsche, who lived from 1844 to 1900. He, too, reacted against Hegel's philosophy and the German 'historicism.' He proposed life itself as a counterweight to the anemic interest in history and what he called the Christian 'slave morality.' He sought to effect a 'revaluation of all values,' so that the life force of the strongest should not be hampered by the weak. According to Nietzsche, both Christianity and traditional philosophy had turned away from the real world and pointed toward 'heaven' or 'the world of ideas.' But what had hitherto been considered the 'real' world was in fact a pseudo world. 'Be true to the world,' he said. 'Do not listen to those who offer you supernatural expectations.' ""So ... ?""A man who was influenced by both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche was the German existential philosopher Martin Heidegger. But we are going to concentrate on the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, who lived from 1905 to 1980. He was the leading light among the existentialists--at least, to the broader public. His existentialism became especially popular in the forties, just after the war. Later on he allied himself with the Marxist movement in France, but he never became a member of any party.""Is that why we are meeting in a French cafe?""It was not quite accidental, I confess. Sartre himself spent a lot of time in cafes. He met his life-long companion Simone de Beauvoir in a cafe. She was also an existential philosopher."
"A woman philosopher?""That's right."
"What a relief that humanity is finally becoming civilized.""Nevertheless, many new problems have arisen in our own time."
"You were going to talk about existentialism.""Sartre said that 'existentialism is humanism.' By that he meant that the existentialists start from nothing but humanity itself. I might add that the humanism he was referring to took a far bleaker view of the human situation than the humanism we met in the Renaissance."
"Why was that?""Both Kierkegaard and some of this century's existential philosophers were Christian. But Sartre's allegiance was to what we might call an atheistic existentialism. His philosophy can be seen as a merciless analysis of the human situation when 'God is dead.' The expression 'God is dead' came from Nietzsche.""Go on.""The key word in Sartre's philosophy, as in Kierkegaard's, is 'existence.' But existence did not mean the same as being alive. Plants and animals are also alive, they exist, but they do not have to think about what it implies. Man is the only living creature that is conscious of its own existence. Sartre said that a material thing is simply 'in itself,' but mankind is 'for itself.' The being of man is therefore not the same as the being of things."
"I can't disagree with that.""Sartre said that man's existence takes priority over whatever he might otherwise be. The fact that I exist takes priority over what I am. 'Existence takes priority over essence.' "
"That was a very complicated statement.""By essence we mean that which something consists of--the nature, or being, of something. But according to Sartre, man has no such innate 'nature.' Man must therefore create himself. He must create his own nature or 'essence,' because it is not fixed in advance."
"I think I see what you mean.""Throughout the entire history of philosophy, philosophers have sought to discover what man is--or what human nature is. But Sartre believed that man has no such eternal 'nature' to fall back on. It is therefore useless to search for the meaning of life in general. We are condemned to improvise. We are like actors dragged onto the stage without having learned our lines, with no script and no prompter to whisper stage directions to us. We must decide for ourselves how to live."
"That's true, actually. If one could just look in the Bible--or in a philosophy book--to find out how to live, it would be very practical.""You've got the point. When people realize they are alive and will one day die--and there is no meaning to cling to--they experience angst, said Sartre. You may recall that angst, a sense of dread, was also characteristic of Kierkegaard's description of a person in an existential situation.""Yes.""Sartre says that man feels a//en in a world without meaning. When he describes man's 'alienation,' he is echoing the central ideas of Hegel and Marx. Man's feeling of alienation in the world creates a sense of despair, boredom, nausea, and absurdity."
"It is quite normal to feel depressed, or to feel that everything is just too boring.""Yes, indeed. Sartre was describing the twentieth-century city dweller. You remember that the Renaissance humanists had drawn attention, almost triumphantly, to man's freedom and independence? Sartre experienced man's freedom as a curse. 'Man is condemned to be free,' he said. 'Condemned because he has not created himself--and is nevertheless free. Because having once been hurled into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.' "
"But we haven't asked to be created as free individuals.""That was precisely Sartre's point. Nevertheless we are free individuals, and this freedom condemns us to make choices throughout our lives. There are no eternal values or norms we can adhere to, which makes our choices even more significant. Because we are totally responsible for everything we do. Sartre emphasized that man must never disclaim the responsibility for his actions. Nor can we avoid the responsibility of making our own choices on the grounds that we 'must' go to work, or we 'must' live up to certain middle-class expectations regarding how we should live. Those who thus slip into the anonymous masses will never be other than members of the impersonal flock, having fled from themselves into self-deception. On the other hand our freedom obliges us to make something of ourselves, to live 'authentically' or 'truly.' "
"Yes, I see.""This is not least the case as regards our ethical choices. We can never lay the blame on 'human nature,' or 'human frailty' or anything like that. Now and then it happens that grown men behave like pigs and then blame it on 'the old Adam.' But there is no 'old Adam.' He is merely a figure we clutch at to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions."