& A toast at devil's table
The Screwtape Letters
Screwtape Proposes a Toast
Translation: Alexander Master
I have no intention of explaining how the letters I offer to the public with this book came into my hands. There are two equal and opposite mistakes that we humans often make about devils. One is not to believe in their existence. The other is to believe but feel an excessive and sick interest in them. The devils themselves are overjoyed with both errors and welcome both a materialist and a magician with equal joy. I advise readers to remember, as they read the letters, that the devil is a liar.
"Mr. President, I take back all the harsh words I said about tonight's table. I see and smell that even in bad times the cellar of the School still has a few dozen of the good old harvest Pharisaic Wine.
Do you know how the blend from which this wine comes is made? Different types of Pharisees are harvested, and after being pressed, they are left to ferment together to produce its delicate flavor. Types that were the most competitive with each other on earth. On the one hand all rules, relics and rosaries. On the other hand, dull clothes, cold faces and narrow-minded conservative abstentions from wine or cards or the theater. What both guys had in common was their self-righteousness and the almost infinite distance between their actual stance and whatever the Enemy actually is or commands.