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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2 (May 1, 1934.)

History's Hang-over

History's Hang-over.

Tame him, train him, titivate him with trimmings and palliate his primitive passions with synthetic civility— and still he remains but a palpitating poultice of passionate perplexity.

Hit him under the lee of the “lamp,” and, immediately, a bronze-age ancestor rises up and dots you for a row of raspberries; threaten his hearth and home, and his stone-age auntie gives you the gate—without opening it. Step on his corns in the car, and his sabre-toothed sires give you a look guaranteed to lift the whiskers off a barber's pole; touch him on the raw and he will roar like an ice-age bull; but, give him all he wants and he wants more than he can get, and howls like a hyena if he can't get it.

In the words of the song entitled Mr. Booze, “I hate you—no, I love you, Mister Man.”

It was—or it wasn't—Dean Swift who said something about hating man but loving men; and indeed, History seems to say that man is less than the vilest vulpine, more sickeningly sly than a poison-lily, crueller than the crocodile, and as unctuous as a warm fungus. But History gives only half his story. For, from the co-mingling of cogent cogitation and atavistic aberration arises an intermittent internal intoxication which lifts him to the peak of Parnassus and lowers him into the limbo of the Lost.

No wonder he always looks as if he is in two minds whether to lie down and masticate mud or rear up and slap the sun.