But the truth, he knows, is otherwise. His pleasure in living has been snuffed out. Like a leaf on a stream, like a puffball on a breeze, he has begun to float towards his end. He sees it quite clearly, and it fills him with (the word will not go away) despair. The blood of life is leaving his body and despair is taking its place, despair that is like a gas, odourless, tasteless, without nourishment. You breathe it in, your limbs relax, you cease to care, even at the moment when the steel touches your throat.
When a story has gone the grand circuit, and travels back to us uncontradicted, we may reasonably begin to relax in our belief of it. If nobody questions it, it is manifestly a fiction; if it passes current, it is almost sure to be a counterfeit. The course of truth never yet ran smooth.
I know that I shall have lost to the jungle if I take a weak moral standpoint or relax my mental punctiliousness. I have therefore come to a certain belief which is based on three powerful effective commandments: THOU SHALT BE ENTERTAINING AT ALL TIMES. THOU SHALT OBEY THY ARTISTIC CONSCIENCE AT ALL TIMES. THOU SHALT MAKE EACH FILM AS IF IT WERE THY LAST.