Wednesday, July 2
"...And More Touching..."
"They are considerable men," he said.
"I know. But have you listened to their conversation? They don't seem to have understood anything they have seen here."
"They have seen the mine. They have understood that to some purpose," Charles Gould interjected, in defence of the visitors; and then his wife mentioned the name of the most considerable of the three. He was considerable in finance and in industry. His name was familiar to many millions of people. He was so considerable that he would never have travelled so far away from the centre of his activity if the doctors had not insisted, with veiled menaces, on his taking a long holiday.
"Mr. Holroyd's sense of religion," Mrs. Gould pursued, "was shocked and disgusted at the tawdriness of the dressed-up saints in the cathedral—the worship, he called it, of wood and tinsel. But it seemed to me that he looked upon his own God as a sort of influential partner, who gets his share of profits in the endowment of churches. That's a sort of idolatry. He told me he endowed churches every year, Charley."
"No end of them," said Mr. Gould, marvelling inwardly at the mobility of her physiognomy. "All over the country. He's famous for that sort of munificence." "Oh, he didn't boast," Mrs. Gould declared, scrupulously. "I believe he's really a good man, but so stupid! A poor Chulo* who offers a little silver arm or leg to thank his god [sic] for a cure is as rational and more touching."
"He's at the head of immense silver and iron interests," Charles Gould observed.
"Ah, yes! The religion of silver and iron. He's a very civil man, though he looked awfully solemn when he first saw the Madonna on the staircase, who's only wood and paint; but he said nothing to me."
~Joseph Conrad, Nostromo, 1904
*Presumably a misspelling of cholo, a word sometimes used in several contexts (sometimes derogatorily, sometimes with pride, sometimes indifferently) to refer to Hispanics of predominantly Indian blood. Any more detailed explanation would make my head hurt. Its first recorded appearance is in a 1609 history by the half-Inca, half-Spanish aristocrat Garcilaso de la Vega, who understandably didn't seem to like it very much.