The Shadow On The Dial, and Other Essays

The Shadow On The Dial, and Other Essays

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The Shadow On The Dial, and Other Essays by Ambrose Bierce

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1909

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The Shadow On The Dial, and Other Essays

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The essays cover a wide range of subjects, embracing among other things government, dreams, writers of dialect, and dogs, and always the author's point of view is fresh, original and non-Philistine. Whether one cares to agree with him or not, one will find vast entertainment in his wit that illuminates with lightning flashes all he touches. Other qualities I forbear allusion to, having already encroached too much upon the time of the reader.

Book Excerpt

ation--which might advantageously take the form of removal of the tongue.

Why not? Where is the injustice? Surely he who denies men's right to make laws will not invoke the laws that they have wickedly made! That were to say that they must not protect themselves, yet are bound to protect him. What! if I beat him will he call the useless and mischievous constabulary? If I draw out his tongue shall he (in the sign-language) demand it back, and failing of restitution (for surely I should cut it clean away) shall he have the law on me--the naughty law, instrument of the oppressor? Why? that "goes neare to be fonny!"

Two human beings can not live together in peace without laws--laws innumerable. Everything that either, in consideration of the other's wish or welfare, abstains from is inhibited by law, tacit or expressed. If there were in all the world none but they--if neither had come with any sense of obligation toward the other, both clean from creation, with nothing but brains to direct their con

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