4. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod, 23.7.?20

12, Great Ormond Street,



Dear Harrod -

Many thanks for your letter which was pleasurable tho' so penetrating. I spoke not of a lost purpose but of one that had never been - for me at least. Dio mio, you don't suppose I ever was a Christian once I escaped my nurse's apron strings, do you? Certainly I made some efforts to be one, & had the modesty to doubt my own doubts and the dishonesty to conceal them for some four years; but for the rest I am as Julian Apostate was - in short, "when I was a child ..." as the one educated Apostle said. The world has more value now than ever it had - so much hapiness that I dared not believe it was mine when it came, and even now feel a kind of shame at it - when I think of all the misery in the world - and almost fear to enjoy it. Heaven - p'raps if I ever had been a Christian I'd have thought more of it, & less of the little injustices of this estate - not mine, certainly, for that's been amazingly good - but of the young life cut off (tho' I sometimes thought that the best), of the maimed, the sick, & the mad. I don't hate envy - it seems to me a pitiful thing - but I don't see how one can help in a way looking down on those who've no self-reliance - it's all part of my megaloparchy [? CSS], I suppose, and a kind of Oriental hate for the Uriah Heeps and Armenians of this world - there's no one who rouses my worst passions so much as the worm that will not turn - As to intrigue, .... again I take the view which Descartes held of the deity - that he wouldn't deceive and plot because it was unnecessary for him to do so; & so to me there seems a certain pettiness in it; and the world is so full of a number of great uncontrollables that one can only take things as they come and be grateful for them - not to God, certainly, nor to oneself, but vaguely to the unknown good in the world which seems in one case and another to predominate over the evil on the whole - tho' how any man can say that it does so generally is beyond me. My tragedy - you surely have heard what it is; I told you I dreaded the end of my speculations; well, I went thro' them without fear - they lead to utter agnosticism, but that's no great hurt - but they led further to my telling my Mother the thing that in all the world she must have hated most; & now she's in a mad-house. Cause & effect is an ill thing to judge of, but the suspicion of the connexion in this case is almost overwhelming.



That's what seems to me so irrational about morality - that it should lead to such disasters [arrow pointing to `connexion', CSS]

  1. 1. British Library, Harrod Collection, Folder Add. 72732, fol. 88. (transcribed by Charity Scott Stokes)

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