The Silver Eel

"A gape-jawed serpentine shape of pale metal crested with soot hung high for a sign."

Sunday, December 10, 2006


From "On the City Wall", first published December 1888
Whence it is easy to see that mere men of the flesh who would create a tumult must fare badly at the hands of the Supreme Government. And they do. There is no outward sign of excitement; there is no confusion; there is no knowledge. When due and sufficient reasons have been given, weighed and approved, the machinery moves forward, and the dreamer of dreams and the seer of visions is gone from his friends and following. He enjoys the hospitality of Government; there is no restriction upon his movements within certain limits; but he must not confer any more with his brother dreamers. Once in every six months the Supreme Government assures itself that he is well and takes formal acknowledgement of his existence. No-one protests against his detention, because the few people who know about it are in deadly fear of seeming to know him; and never a single newspaper 'takes up his cause' or organises demonstrations on his behalf, because the newspapers of India have got behind that lying proverb which says the Pen is mightier than the Sword, and can walk delicately.
Now check out the fate of Ahmed Urabi, who led a revolt against the European, particularly British, domination of Egypt. The entry on the Urabi revolt itself has more on the background, although I'd personally want to confirm this from other sources. Interesting to see debt being used, then as now, as a weapon.

Incredibly, there is a street in Pontypridd named for the deciding battle of the revolt, somewhat modified as Telelkebir.



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