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The Indestructibles
by [?]

I wonder if you have ever been struck by the catholicity–not to say the self-contradictoriness–of the constant correspondent. The creature will enter with zest into any discussion; there is no topic too small for it, and certainly none too great. The following letters, carefully culled from the annual contributions of a lady whose epistolary career I have followed with interest, will indicate the delicious inconsequence that has made them for me such grateful reading:


SIR,–There is nothing in life worth purchasing by pulsations and respirations. The world is a dank, malarious marsh, with fitful Will-o’-the-Wisp flashes of false radiance–a vast cemetery waiting for our corpses. There is no such thing as happiness.

Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravin, shrieks against

the idea. Youth is an illusion, maturity a regret, and old age an apprehension. Fortunately Providence has sent us a panacea–Universal Suicide.

I am, Sir,
Yours obediently,


SIR,–Surely “A Mad Englishman” and “Dorothy X.,” who maintain so glibly that country life is more enjoyable than town life, fail to realise how much of our pleasure depends on human intercourse. It is given only to poets to talk with trees. Nor can ordinary mortals find

Sermons in stones,
Books in the running brooks.

We need the cathedrals and the libraries that are to be found only in the great centres of national life–yes, and also the art galleries and the theatres. Of course, if people will martyr themselves to keep up appearances, and want to live in a fashionable neighbourhood, they will not find town life either cheap or pleasant. But if they are content to live outside the aristocratic radius, they can find many a comfortable villa, with baths (hot and cold), and back gardens which may easily be converted into rustic retreats (I would especially recommend rhododendrons). If you are also not above omnibuses (taking a cab only when it rains, and selecting a driver who does not look as if he would swear), and are satisfied to go to the pit, then I feel sure London is not only as cheap as the obscurest village, but gives you a far greater return for your money. Newly-married couples in especial often make a great mistake in settling in the country for the sake of economy. It is only in the town that they can really lead a tranquil, happy life, enriched with all the resources of culture and civilisation.

I am, Sir,
Yours obediently,


SIR,–The failure of marriage is too apparent to be glossed over any longer. “A.Y.Z.” and “A Woman of No Importance” deserve the thanks of every honest heart for their brave outspokenness. Too long has this mediaeval monstrosity cramped our lives. The beautiful word “Home” conceals a doll’s house or whitewashes a sepulchre. Marriage is misery in two syllables. How can people be happy chained together like galley-slaves? It contradicts all we know of human nature.

Love, free as air, at sight of human ties
Spreads his light wings and in a moment flies.

Away with this effete Pharisaism! Let us realise the infinite possibilities of happiness latent in the blessing of existence. The world is longing for freedom to love truly, nobly, wisely, many.

I am, Sir,
Yours obediently,


SIR,–I can testify by personal experience to the fact that the manners of our children are deteriorating. Coming up to the Metropolis for a day’s excursion last Bank Holiday, I could not walk anywhere without overhearing ribald remarks–and, what was worse, at my own expense–even from respectably dressed children. Let those look to it who

Teach the young idea how to shoot.

I thank Heaven my lot has always been cast in a sweet Devonshire village, where the contagion of ill-conduct has not yet spread among the juvenile population.