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84. CHAPTER LXXXIV (continued)
"Perhaps," said he, "but I don't know it; I am bursting with these things, and it is my fate to say them."
I knew there would be no stopping him, so I gave in and asked what question he felt a special desire to burn his fingers with in the first instance.
"Marriage," he rejoined promptly, "and the power of disposing of his property after a man is dead. The question of Christianity is virtually settled, or if not settled there is no lack of those engaged in settling it. The question of the day now is marriage and the family system."
"That," said I drily, "is a hornet's nest indeed."
"Yes," said he no less drily, "but hornet's nests are exactly what I happen to like. Before, however, I begin to stir up this particular one I propose to travel for a few years, with the especial object of finding out what nations now existing are the best, comeliest and most lovable, and also what nations have been so in times past. I want to find out how these people live, and have lived, and what their customs are.
"I have very vague notions upon the subject as yet, but the general impression I have formed is that, putting ourselves on one side, the most vigorous and amiable of known nations are the modern Italians, the old Greeks and Romans, and the South Sea Islanders. I believe that these nice peoples have not as a general rule been purists, but I want to see those of them who can yet be seen; they are the practical authorities on the question--What is best for man? and I should like to see them and find out what they do. Let us settle the fact first and fight about the moral tendencies afterwards."
"In fact," said I laughingly, "you mean to have high old times."
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