The Horrid Joy Of Kindness

Have you ever been horribly kind? It is one of the most delicious pleasures that a treacherous person can enjoy.

We don’t mean kindness in the ordinary sense – holding a door open for a person struggling with parcels or speaking to the neglected at a party. These are all very well, but you can rarely twist them to your own ends -they are kindness wasted, as it were.

No, really treacherous kindness can be practiced only after studying your victim and the general circumstances closely. You need to know when to help to do the maximum damage.

The prime example of this was in Huysmann’s novel ” Au Rebours ” where his protagonist pays for a poor gutter-boy in Paris to be given good food and clothes and to be treated to the affections of expensive ladies for three months – and then to be turned out of doors penniless thereafter. His benefactor then contemplates the ruin of the boy’s life – spoiled for any pleasures save those that cannot be had, and doomed to a life of crime to try to obtain them again.

I do not suggest that you ruin anyone, least of all with ladies, but do give some thought to encouraging the weak to overexert themselves and the shy to obtrude where they are bound to receive contempt. Do it with a polite smile.

If you are compelled to be kind and it cannot be avoided, be kind to those more fortunate than yourself. Do it with a modest ostentation that cannot fail to be observed and resented. Offer charity to those who take pains to show that they never need it, and offer it when others can see.

Note: If you do hold the door for  the person with the parcels, check and see whether the return spring on it will be fast enough to catch their heel before they get over the threshold. Remember to say ” Whoops A Daisy “.

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