Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting, but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it, forever and ever; and we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.
But in this case,” he continues, tracing the line of the plasterwork with one finger, “I feel that there is one cliché that sums up my position so admirably that it would be pure egotism to attempt a more interesting periphrasis. Plain speaking, therefore, there is to be.“There is undoubtedly a strong possibility, notwithstanding the vagaries of contingency and misfortune, that my son mighthave fallen—or might, we could say, have voluntarily jumped, in accordance with the ethical codes with which he has been brought up—for a play you have made with some success, although, as I am persuaded you would concede, very little originality.”Plain speaking if you’re Henry James, perhaps.