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February 28, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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The Mutiny of the Elsinore: Chapter XXXVII

I may be weary of all this bitter movement of a labouring ship on a frigid sea, but at the same time I do not mind it. In my brain burns the flame of a great discovery and a great achievement. I have found what makes all the books go glimmering; I have achieved what my very philosophy tells me is the greatest achievement a man can make. I have found the love of woman. I do not know whether she cares for me. Nor is that the point. The point is that in myself I have risen to the greatest height to which the human male animal can rise.

I know a woman and her name is Margaret. She is Margaret, a woman and desirable. My blood is red. I am not the pallid scholar I so proudly deemed myself to be. I am a man, and a lover, despite the books. As for De Casseres—if ever I get back to New York, equipped as I now am, I shall confute him with the same ease that he has confuted all the schools. Love is the final word. To the rational man it alone gives the super-rational sanction for living. Like Bergson in his overhanging heaven of intuition, or like one who has bathed in Pentecostal fire and seen the New Jerusalem, so I have trod the materialistic dictums of science underfoot, scaled the last peak of philosophy, and leaped into my heaven, which, after all, is within myself. The stuff that composes me, that is I, is so made that it finds its supreme realization in the love of woman. It is the vindication of being. Yes, and it is the wages of being, the payment in full for all the brittleness and frailty of flesh and breath.

And she is only a woman, like any woman, and the Lord knows I know what women are. And I know Margaret for what she is—mere woman; and yet I know, in the lover’s soul of me, that she is somehow different. Her ways are not as the ways of other women, and all her ways are delightful to me. In the end, I suppose, I shall become a nest-builder, for of a surety nest-building is one of her pretty ways. And who shall say which is the worthier—the writing of a whole library or the building of a nest?

The Mutiny of the Elsinore by Jack London (Mills & Boon, 1915)

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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