I can understand the ignorant masses loving to soak themselves in drink – oh, yes, it’s very shocking that they should, of course – very shocking to us who live in cozy homes, with all the graces and pleasures of life around us, that the dwellers in damp cellars and windy attics should creep from their dens of misery into the warmth and glare of the public-house bar, and seek to float for a brief space away from their dull world upon a Lethe stream of gin.
But think, before you hold up your hands in horror at their ill-living, what „life“ for these wretched creatures really means.
Picture the squalid misery of their brutish existence, dragged on from year to year in the narrow, noisome room where, huddled like vermin in sewers, they welter, and sicken, and sleep; where dirt-grimed children scream and fight and sluttish, shrill-voiced women cuff, and curse, and nag; where the street outside teems with roaring filth and the house around is a bedlam of riot and stench.
Think what a sapless stick this fair flower of life must be to them, devoid of mind and soul.
The horse in his stall scents the sweet hay and munches the ripe corn contentedly.
The watch-dog in his kennel blinks at the grateful sun, dreams of a glorious chase over the dewy fields, and wakes with a yelp of gladness to greet a caressing hand.
But the clod-like life of these human logs never knows one ray of light.
From the hour when they crawl from their comfortless bed to the hour when they lounge back into it again they never live one moment of real life.
Recreation, amusement, companionship, they know not the meaning of.
Joy, sorrow, laughter, tears, love, friendship, longing, despair, are idle words to them.
From the day when their baby eyes first look out upon their sordid world to the day when, with an oath, they close them forever and their bones are shoveled out of sight, they never warm to one touch of human sympathy, never thrill to a single thought, never start to a single hope.
In the name of the God of mercy; let them pour the maddening liquor down their throats and feel for one brief moment that they live!
Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow
Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, published in 1886, is a collection of humorous essays by Jerome K. Jerome. It was the author’s second published book and it helped establish him as a leading English humorist.
While widely considered one of Jerome’s better works, and in spite of using the same style as Three Men in a Boat, it was never as popular as the latter.
A second „Idle Thoughts“ book, The Second Thoughts of An Idle Fellow, was published in 1898.
The essays had previously appeared in Home Chimes, the same magazine that later serialised Jerome‘s Three Men in a Boat.