Minor Terror

There were two “Reigns of Terror” if we would but remember it and
consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in
heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other lasted a
thousand years; the one inflicted death upon a thousand persons, the
other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the
“horrors” of the minor terror, the momentary terror, so to speak;
whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with
lifelong death from hunger, cold insult, cruelty, and heartbreak? What
is swift death by lightning compared with slow death by fire at the
stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by the brief
Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver and mourn
over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by the
older and real Terror–that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which
none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.”
~Mark Twain, sent to me by a good friend.

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~ by kcanderson on February 24, 2010.

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