21 August 2010

The sacrifices of sadism are the greater

It may be observed that General McCreery was prepared to spend a good deal of money (Eton fees for five years) to prevent Charles from being at Eton as a scholar, which severely damaged his prospects in life, as well as his well-being throughout those years. If Charles had got a scholarship the fees could have been saved, which was not a negligible consideration even for the McCreerys, to judge from his father’s complaints about the costs of servants, central heating, etc. (*)

In fact, it appears that his parents wished to spend that much money to prevent Charles from getting the advantages out of his ability which he could have done. Cf. my aphorism:

It is supposed that self-sacrifice is the prerogative of altruism. On the contrary; the sacrifices of sadism are the greater.

* It was not a foregone conclusion that scholars did not have to pay fees, and the McCreerys might have wished to pay the fees for the social prestige of being able to pay even if Charles had got a scholarship.