8 May 2012

The Fortunate People

The concluding paragraph of Nasturtium Villas, an essay written by Marcus Clarke in 1874 satirizing the nouveau riche, reprinted in The Literature of Australia, ed. Nicholas Jose (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009), p. 188:
Here was a whole family -- a whole tribe of human beings -- whose only notion of their part in life was to obtain as much money as they could by any legal means scrape together, and spend it upon eating, drinking, and decoration of their persons. They have no aspirations and few ideas. They do not read, write, or sustain one ambition which a few bank notes cannot satisfy. Deprive them of their bank-balance, and they have no resources of consolation. Place them in any place where chaffering and huckstering are not the business of life, and they would starve. And yet -- how kind of Nature! -- they imagine themselves to be the salt of the earth -- the fortunate people worthy to be beloved by God and man.