“We sit by and watch the Barbarian. We tolerate him. In the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence. His comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us. We laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there is no smile.”
Hilaire Belloc, This and That and The Other (New York, 1912), page 282.