A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

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"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.




Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Perhaps that piece of rope was really a dubious-looking compliment"

I see somewhere in the papers that a man has exercised his testamentary rights by leaving his wife a rope to hang herself. Over this bequest, it is not surprising to learn, has arisen a certain discussion about the reasonable limits of the legal fulfillment of wills. It certainly seems a little odd that the legal officers should be called upon to convey to a person the instrument of a legal crime. It opens a vista of possibilities. I may leave to some large and powerful acquaintance of mine a heavy axe or club to which a label shall be attached with the words "To kill Lord Northcliff." The legal officers are duly to carry this simple tribute to the legatee and to leave it in his hands. On my deathbed I may bequeath to my sorrowing relations the whole of my outfit as a criminal; bequeathing my jemmy to this nephew, my revolver to that, to another my dark lantern, to another a skeleton-key fitting all the front doors in the street. I may leave to my family a row of little bottles of poison, each correctly labeled with the name of the literary rival to whom I wish it to be administered. Some people die and leave a cellar of champagne to be divided among all the hospitals. I may die and leave my little cellar of arsenic to be divided among the hospitals. Some people leave money for the improvement of public buildings. I can leave dynamite for the improvement of public buildings. All these things, perhaps, the law will gravely and respectfully carry out. Perhaps it will publicly and politely present my heir with the large dagger ultimately designed for my oldest creditor. Perhaps, on the other hand, it won't.

I do not know how the law stands about the gentleman who left a rope for his wife. Perhaps, like religious orders in the eyes of some theologians, it depends upon the intention. One is, perhaps, too prompt in supposing that the legacy implied a hostile and malignant feeling towards the surviving partner. Perhaps the husband merely meant to convey the hope that his beloved wife would soon rejoin him in the spirit world. Perhaps that piece of rope was really a dubious-looking compliment. Or again, there is another hypothesis. Perhaps he felt that his wife was too much disposed to a superficial and insincere pessimism, and that the sudden suggestion of death would remind her of the essential happiness of living. I can remember that in my ardent youth I carried about in my pocket a large but harmless revolver, and whenever anyone said, "Life is not worth living," I produced it, and always with the most satisfactory results.

-March 17, 1906, Illustrated London News

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