But Chesterton is an excellent author to read or reread so I was not sorry as I stuffed him into my pack next to a jumble of spare socks, sunscreen, and sierra cup. As Auberon Quin (aptly named after the King of the Fairies) walked up Pump Street, I walked up an unnamed logging road. When Auberon was standing on his head in the middle of the road, I was lying on my back in the middle of the camp. When Auberon pored over a map of the suburbs of London, I pored over a map of the Russian Wilderness. When Adam Wayne entered the shop of the grocer, I opened the sack of the gourp. When the men of Notting Hill were attacked, the mosquitoes and nighttime chill attacked. When Wayne climbed onto a wall and looked down on his foe, I climbed onto a rock and looked down on the bear (yeah, the bear, we have pictures to prove it. They must like me because I rode my mountain bike around a blind curve last Saturday and surprised another one 25 feet down the trail).
This post is really about bears. Chesterton, I am sorry to say is only a pretext. Out of a sense of duty, however, I’ll say this much: The Napoleon of Notting Hill is primarily political. Patriotism and individual sovereignty is lost in the future world that Chesterton envisions: a world prophetically similar to that of the U.N and European Union. James Barker explains the mentality of that future age in one paragraph:
we are, in a sense, the purest democracy. We have become a despotism. Have you not noticed how continually in history democracy becomes despotism? People call it the decay of democracy. It is simply its fulfillment (25).Chesterton, G.K. The Napoleon of Notting Hill. Penguin Books. Penguin Modern Classics, Great Britain, 1982.