Presently there came a time when the sacred customs could no longer be even superficially maintained. There was neither the labour nor the degree of vigour and intelligence to maintain the sacred stereotyped functions of society. The first serious breakdown was connected with volcanic power. Whenever great volcanic eruptions occurred, the machinery for harnessing and using the submerged titan was likely to be thrown out of gear or destroyed. When the tumult had subsided the local system had to be reconstructed, probably in new conditions. Great eruptions are rare, but over the centuries they occur in every active volcano. So long as intelligence was strong, the damage was quickly repaired. Long after the extinction of the fully free intelligence the limited, bound intelligence which functioned only within the orthodox system of ideas and values was still capable of great practical inventiveness. When a volcanic power station was destroyed and the volcano changed its whole configuration, even the bound intelligence was able to reconstruct the generating system. But when the actual innate capacity for intelligence had seriously declined, when even the best surviving intelligence was not only bound but feeble, such great problems of engineering could seldom be successfully tackled. In due season they became completely insoluble. Inevitably the great volcanic power stations fell one by one into disuse. The world’s supply of power steadily diminished. Since the needs of the declining population were also shrinking, this might not have mattered, had it not been for the effect on communications. After a while it became impossible to maintain the world’s transport system. Little by little the continents, and then the regions within a single continent, failed to maintain the orthodox trade-intercourse with one another. This obvious breakdown in the sacred system caused not only grave economic disorder but also a severe psychological disturbance in men’s minds. It should be mentioned that radio-control of thought and volition had by now broken down completely. The delicate surgical operation and the delicate mechanism which it involved were far beyond the compass of latter-day man. Relieved of this tyranny, men were once more independent individuals; or at least they would have been, had not the tyranny of mob-feeling and suggestion still controlled them. Generally mob-feeling and suggestion favoured the government; but the increasing gap between the official version of events and the state of affairs that men perceived around them sometimes inclined even the degenerate latter-day mobs to criticism. For at last it became impossible even for the average dullard of the race not to recognize that the Celestial World Empire, for which he had been taught to sacrifice himself body and soul, was disintegrating. This knowledge produced a kind of religious terror. The very universe, it seemed, was crumbling about men’s heads.
Thy Charms thou always do'st oppose
'Thank you, dear Peggotty!' said I. 'Oh, thank you! Thank you! Will you promise me one thing, Peggotty? Will you write and tell Mr. Peggotty and little Em'ly, and Mrs. Gummidge and Ham, that I am not so bad as they might suppose, and that I sent 'em all my love - especially to little Em'ly? Will you, if you please, Peggotty?'
The local correspondent of the Daily Gleaner reported that Major Smythe had been killed by an octopus, but the paper translated this into "found drowned" so as not to frighten away the tourists.
The "so on," I thought, meant "the thing" he had bought. I was aghast. I said urgently, "Oh, but I can't, Derek! I simply can't! You've no idea how awful I feel about what happened."
'Oh! I hope you'll go soon! You would like it so much!'
Bond walked into the small living-room and closed the door behind him.