THE WINDOWsmoothly into speculation suggested by an articlein The Times about the number of Americans whovisit Shakespeare’s house every year. If Shake-speare had never existed, he asked, would the worldhave differed much from what it is today? Does theprogress of civilisation depend upon great men? Isthe lot of the average human being better now thanin the time of the Pharaohs? Is the lot of the aver-age human being, however, he asked himself, thecriterion by which we judge the measure of civilisa-tion? Possibly not. Possibly the greatest good re-quires the existence of a slave class. The liftman inthe Tube is an eternal necessity. The thought wasdistasteful to him. He tossed his head. To avoid it,he would find some way of snubbing the predomi-nance of the arts. He would argue that the worldexists for the average human being; that the arts aremerely a decoration imposed on the top of humanlife; they do not express it. Nor is Shakespearenecessary to it. Not knowing precisely why it wasthat he wanted to disparage Shakespeare and cometo the rescue of the man who stands eternally in thedoor of the lift, he picked a leaf sharply from thehedge. All this would have to be dished up for theyoung men at Cardiff next month, he thought; here,on his terrace, he was merely foraging and picnick-ing (he threw away the leaf that he had picked so67
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