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-- Discussion Of Chapter 4

"Thanks, Neill, for making me kill the bull", said Michael.
"You couldn't have done it in real life", said Evelyn.
"Not so sure", said Michael cockily, and he lifted the poker and made passes at a cushion.
"I think that bit about the ship was just silly", said Robert. "As if we'd make mistakes like that. And anyone knows that heave-to means to shove her nose into the teeth of the gale and go dead slow."
"I thought it meant heaving two things overboard to make the ship lighter", said Evelyn with a slight laugh.
"I wish you hadn't brought in that German", said Bunny. "I want only us to be alive."
"But he is a nice chap", put in Jean.
"Nice or not nice, I don't care", said Bunny. "You have to kill him, Neill."
David was thinking hard.
"No need", he said. "He'll die off and then there will be no more, 'cos you see, he has no wife and there will be no children."
"You've no wife either", said Jean.
"No", said David, "but when we grow up...oh Lord, think of it, you chaps, there'll be no dames to marry but these three awful frumps."
Robert looked at the girls dispassionately.
"They are pretty awful, I admit, David; but, you see, if we don't marry them the human race will die out. The only hope is that Pyecraft will want to become a sultan and have a harem. That would settle it."
Betty snorted.
"If you are the only husbands for us the sooner the human race dies out the better. And Neill makes the boys do all the brave things and it isn't fair."
"It isn't so much fun being the last people alive as I thought", said Jean. "You should make another cloud come home and make them all alive again, Neill."
"Hard luck on Corks, who has no head", said Robert.
"And Branwen, who is the cement bed of the workshop", giggled Evelyn. "No, don't let them come alive again. There are too many left alive already!" and she looked significantly at Robert, who put out his tongue at her.
"There's one thing not good about the story", said Gordon, "and that is, there is no time."
"Time for what?" I asked.
"No time. You don't say how long we have been left alive. You never say: On the tenth of August so and so happened."
"Why should I? Time is marked by events. An hour of the toothache or listening to Evelyn's gramophone is a long, long time, but an hour at the cinema is a short time."
"Oh", sighed Betty, "if only we could go to the cinema in the story."
"Cinema", said David contemptuously, "when there are dogs to kill! Ass."

On to Chapter 5

Discussion of chapter 4 of 'The Last Man Alive' by A. S. Neill. This page is copyrighted.