themselves upright. Yet, his most important trait was that hernreally wanted to know the truth and that he said and wroternwhat he believed it to be regardless of whether it was popular.rnThe fact that he was a freelance writer all his life, with no SocialrnSecurity or pension, made that even more remarkable,rnbecause the danger of freelancing is that you are a hired penrnand can be pressured to write what the check-signer wants tornhear. Malcolm never did that. He regularly bit the hand thatrnfed him. He expressed his opinions calmly and politely, andrnno form of adulation or criticism deterred him. In the 1960’srnhe asked Dr. Christiaan Barnard, for example, on a live TVrnshow, if the first heart transplant was done in South Africarn”because the equipment and the surgeons were better thanrnanywhere else in the world, or because after many years of thernvile doctrine of apartheid, you’ve come to think of people asrnsomething other than human beings with souls?” He therebyrnbecame the only person known to have his passport revoked byrnboth the Soviet Union and South Africa. He also earned arndeath sentence from the Anti-Jewish Pogrom Committee ofrnthe People’s Liberation Army—which he totally ignored—forrnhis criticism of anti-Semitism.rnHe had enemies on the left because he refused to overlookrnthe way our Western intelligentsia has admired and whitewashedrnevery communist regime from Russia to Nicaragua,rnbut he also had enemies on the right because he was notrnenamored of capitalism. He saw it as the least dangerous formrnof economic order but ridiculous in many of its manifestations.rnHe thought that the English monarchy and aristocracyrnwere silly and self-serving and that the pomposity of the Britishrnwas extraordinary. He therefore made fun of them, just asrnhe made fun of the culturelessness of Americans, rufflingrnfeathers and inflaming tempers on both sides of the Atlantic.rnPerhaps the only issue his admirers and critics have everrnagreed upon is that his two-volume autobiography, Chroniclesrnof Wasted Time, is among the finest ever written in the Englishrnlanguage. Here, as in all his writing, he mocked the absurditiesrnof modern life, but in doing so he was putting thisrncentury in perspective, showing us that ours is an age like anyrnage, with blind spots and stupidities and horrors.rnYet to look at Malcolm Muggeridge in the last twenty yearsrnof his life (when he and Kitty lived in the gentle hills of EastrnSussex in a steep tile-roofed, white stone farm cottage that.rnlooked like it had grown out of the ground on its own), nornone would have suspected him of being controversial. Hernhad a kindly, serene, wisely childlike face that was remarkablyrnfluid, flexible, and expressive.rnMalcolm’s lifelong favorite pastime was walking, and even inrnhis 80’s he would start off past his chicken house and his beernhives and walk for hours through pine woods and apple orchardsrnand soft green hills, salted with sheep. He wore thernsame split-pea-soup-colored corduroy jacket virtually everyrnday of his life. He and Kitty always ate homemade bread withrneggs and cheese and fruit, sitting in the kitchen at their comfortablyrnworn wooden table. All their furniture was old andrnwell-used. For in spite of the traveling and the fame, Malcolmrnnever cared about material things. He and Kitty raisedrnfour children in very straitened circumstances, yet he still gavernwhat he could not afford to give to friends he saw in need.rnWhen he read in the paper that his first girlfriend (who wasrnthen far from young and completely on her own) had beenrnswindled out of her savings, Malcolm anonymously arrangedrnfor her to receive the same amount. When an anti-abortionrngroup in Canada invited him to speak at a rally but then foundrnthey could not pay his travel expenses or rent the hall, Malcolmrnpaid for it all himself. He gave the proceeds from his Christianrnbooks to Christian charities and gave away everything else beforernhe died. For Malcolm became more charitable, in everyrnsense of the word, after he became a Christian. He had comernto see that “humility is not just the most important virtue,rnbut the condition of all virtue” and had begun to expect morernfrom himself.rnIn his last years, he could not bear to watch his early televisionrnappearances because he saw his own arrogance so clearly,rnand when strangers stopped him on the street, he went out ofrnhis way to be kind. When various “disciples” appeared at hisrndoor, just as they had at Tolstoy’s, Malcolm would give themrntea and a surprising amount of his time. Even when an inmaternfrom a mental institution, who claimed to be Jesus Christ,rnwalked sixty miles to see Muggeridge, Malcolm took him in—rnlater explaining to Ian Hunter, his long-time friend and biographer,rnthat he had thought to himself, “‘What if he is JesusrnChrist?’ I would have missed Jesus the first time. I wouldn’trnhave been watching at the cross. I would’ve been coveringrnPilate, asking who he was sleeping with, or something elsernequally absurd. And I didn’t want to miss Him again.”rnMalcolm wanted to be on good terms with everyone hernknew before he died, and he set out to smooth whatever hardrnfeelings he might have caused. When faced with the choice ofrnseeing Niagara Falls with friends or going to lunch at Wendy’srnat the invitation of his grandsons, Malcolm chose Wendy’srn(even though he was a vegetarian and there was little he dislikedrnmore than the commercial tackiness of the modern world).rnStill, as Malcolm grew older, it became important to him torndecide whether he would die inside or outside the Church.rnHe had never attached himself to any institution before, andrnhe had attacked them all from afar. Although he remainedrnconvinced to the end that the organizations and structures ofrnthe Christian church are doomed (along with the civilizationrnChristianity created), he and Kitty became Roman Catholicsrnin 1982.rnMalcolm had several small strokes in his last two years,rnthough he did not seem to be suffering. Actually, suffering didrnnot bother Malcolm. He said many times throughout his lifernthat suffering was the only thing that had ever taught himrnanything, that no catastrophe occurs that is not also an illumination,rnand that we never would have even heard of Christrnif it had not been for the Cross. Nor was he afraid of death.rnHe had joked about it for years and often said he was lookingrnforward to crawling out of his decaying husk and making off intorneternity. But the one fear he did have was that Kitty wouldrndie first and that he would not be able to bear it. Fortunatelyrnfor him, he was spared the experience.rnIn 1990, at the age of 87, Malcolm suffered the frustrationrnand indignity of a terrible stroke. But even that did not keeprnhim from resisting authority. He absolutely refused to take anyrnmedication, and no nurse, or combination of nurses, was ablernto force any into him. His son John was with him near thernend. He and Kitty brought a priest to see him, though theyrndid so with trepidation. They were afraid he would refuse torntake Communion, thinking it was another ruse to get him tornswallow his pills. But after examining the priest with extremelyrnsuspicious eyes, and inspecting the wafer with great punctiliousnessrnfrom every conceivable angle, Malcolm Muggeridgernopened his mouth and smiled. Qrn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn