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      The parentage of the two ideas will further elucidate their essentially heterogeneous character. For modern Communism is an outgrowth of the democratic tendencies which Plato detested; and as such had its counterpart in ancient Athens, if we may trust the Ecclsiazusae of Aristophanes, where also it is associated with unbridled licentiousness.155 Plato, on the261 contrary, seems to have received the first suggestion of his Communism from the Pythagorean and aristocratic confraternities of Southern Italy, where the principle that friends have all things in common was an accepted maxim.

      Prout came up smiling in the course of the next afternoon. He was disposed to chaff his prisoner in a mild kind of way."There are five more which I have not read yet. I understand there are allusions to a certain Countess who, as Prout politely put it, shall be nameless. My boy, I feel quite certain that this will lead to--what's up?"

      Ren Lalage confessed himself puzzled. Compatriots had shown him the paper, but he had forgotten. There was a headpiece to the paper with a woman on it blowing a trumpet. It seemed to be all actors and the like.The famous theses of Gorgias were quoted in a former chapter as an illustration of the tactics pursued by Greek Humanism in its controversy with physical science. They must be noticed again in the present connexion, on account of their bearing on the development of scepticism, and as having inaugurated a method of reasoning often employed in subsequent attacks, directed, not against the whole of knowledge, but against particular parts of it. The scepticism of Protagoras rested on the assumption that there is an external reality from the reaction of which with mind all our perceptions proceed. Neither of these two factors can be known apart from the other, and as both are in a constant flux, our knowledge of the resulting compound at one time does not show what it has been or will be at another time. But Gorgias altogether denied the existence of any objective reality; and he attempted to disprove it by an analytical instead of a synthetic argument, laying down a series of disjunctive propositions, and upsetting the different alternatives in succession. Existence must be either something or nothing, or both together; and if something, it must be either finite or infinite, or both, and either one or many, or both. His argument against an infinite existence is altogether futile; but it serves to illustrate the undeveloped state of reflection at that period. The eternity of the world is confounded with its unlimited extension in space: and this hypothesis, again, is met by the transparent quibble that the world, not being in any one place, must be nowhere or not at all. And the alternative that the world has not always existed is refuted by the unproved assumption, which, apparently, no Greek philosopher ever thought of disputing, that nothing can begin without being caused by something else. Still, however contemptible such reasonings may seem,131 it is obvious that in them we have the first crude form of the famous antinomies by which Kant long afterwards sought to prove the impossibility of a world existing in space and time apart from a percipient subject, and which have since been used to establish in a more general way the unknowability of existence as such. It will also be observed that the sceptical arguments respectively derived from the relativity of thought and from the contradictions inherent in its ultimate products are run together by modern agnostics. But no reason that we can remember has ever been given to show that an idea is necessarily subjective because it is self-contradictory.

      "But I do not share these views," said Charlton. "I recognise this woman now, though she no longer wears any disguise. There stands my wife's murderess. I shall never be content till the world knows that."

      Prout rose and bowed to Hetty.

      In caves and unsunned hollows of the earth,

      With that reflection illuminating his mind, the Doctor ran his car into the garage, and with some return of his usual debonair manner, with something of that abiding confidence in a solid earth which is a necessary prelude to the marshalling of digestive juices, opened the front door of his house.


      "I will do anything I can to make your mind easy," Hetty said."Which isn't worth the trouble when you've got it."


      "Danger.--The danger lies in the second floor back bedroom of the corner house.--Z."In his growing excitement Gregg rose and paced the floor of the room, walking away[Pg 184] from the Doctor. He did not hear the slight snigger that broke from the latter; nor had he observed any signs of deeper incredulity in the features of his friend that might have led him to moderate his enthusiasm. He continued, in an exultant voice. "Think of what this means! We know the future! The accidental appearance of the Clockwork man may save the human race generations of striving and effort in a wrong direction. Or rather, it will save us from passing through the intermediate stages consciously, for everything has already happened, and the utmost we can hope is to escape the knowledge of its happening. We shall be able to take a great leap forward into the future. Once we have grasped the principle of the Clockwork man, the course of humanity is clear. It may still be several thousands of years before the final achievement, but we can at least begin."


      Prout dutifully returned the following evening, but Lawrence had nothing fresh to offer. He still clung to his new theory, but it was not sufficiently developed for practical use. And he didn't want to be laughed at, he said."Gone!" said Lawrence. "I waved my hand and they have departed. Nobody but us three has any knowledge of the truth."