Others are to us like the characters in fiction, eternal and incorrigible; the surprises they give us turn out in the end to have been predictable and unexpected variations on the theme of being themselves.
The American character looks always as if it had just had a rather bad haircut, which gives it, in our eyes at any rate, a greater humanity than the European, which even among its beggars has all too much a professional air.
The Crucifixion and other historical precedents notwithstanding, many of us still believe that outstanding goodness is a kind of armor, that virtue, seen plain and bare, gives pause to criminality. But perhaps it is the other way around.
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