Monday, July 22, 2013

"Ask for the Bleeding Charity"

A friend recently asked me to help find a C.S. Lewis quotation. It was from The Great Divorce, one of my favorites among many by that author. This is from chapter 4 of that book, describing an encounter between an inhabitant of Heaven and a visitor from the other place:
.... "What I'd like to understand," said the Ghost, "is what you're here for, as pleased as Punch, you, a bloody murderer, while I've been walking the streets down there and living in a place like a pigstye all these years." .... "Personally," said the Big Ghost with an emphasis which contradicted the ordinary meaning of the word, "personally, I'd have thought you and I ought to be the other way round. That's my personal opinion." .... "Look at me, now," said the Ghost, slapping its chest.... "I gone straight all my life. I don't say I was a religious man and I don't say I had no faults, far from it. But I done my best all my life, see? I done my best by everyone, that's the sort of chap I was. I never asked for anything that wasn't mine by rights. If I wanted a drink I paid for it and if I took my wages I done my job, see? That's the sort I was and I don't care who knows it." .... I'm only telling you the sort of chap I am. I only want my rights. I'm not asking for anybody's bleeding charity."

"Then do. At once. Ask for the Bleeding Charity. Everything is here for the asking and nothing can be bought." .... "You weren't a decent man and you didn't do your best. We none of us were and we none of us did. ....