Tristram has literary priggishness.

—-How could you, Madam, be so inattentive in reading the last chapter? I told you in it, That my mother was not a papist.—-Papist! You told me no such thing, Sir.–Madam, I beg leave to repeat it over again, that I told you as plain, at least, as words, by direct inference, could tell you such a thing.–Then, Sir, I must have missed a page.–No, Madam,–you have not missed a word.—-Then I was asleep, Sir.–My pride, Madam, cannot allow you that refuge.—-Then, I declare, I know nothing at all about the matter.–That, Madam, is the very fault I lay to your charge; and as a punishment for it, I do insist upon it, that you immediately turn back, that is, as soon as you get to the next full stop, and read the whole chapter over again. I have imposed this penance upon the lady, neither out of wantonness nor cruelty; but from the best of motives; and therefore shall make her no apology for it when she returns back:–‘Tis to rebuke a vicious taste, which has crept into thousands besides herself,–of reading straight forwards, more in quest of the adventures, than of the deep erudition and knowledge which a book of this cast, if read over as it should be, would infallibly impart with them—-The mind should be accustomed to make wise reflections, and draw curious conclusions as it goes along; the habitude of which made Pliny the younger affirm, “That he never read a book so bad, but he drew some profit from it.” The stories of Greece and Rome, run over without this turn and application,–do less service, I affirm it, than the history of Parismus and Parismenus, or of the Seven Champions of England, read with it.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under excerpts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s