Monday, 2 May 2016



I never before read a word of Alfred Austin, the Poet Laureate Lord Salisbury appointed when he could have chosen Christina Rossetti. I understood he was a Conservative hack, but this is marvellous and expresses my philosophy. I took it from this blog.

'I shall be taken nowhere, see nothing, and converse with nobody, that is not ancient. I wish to see Old England, or so much of it as is left.'

'Yet,' I ventured to plead, for this particular conversation was between Lamia and me only, 'is there not much in it that is more or less new, well worth seeing, and strongly appealing to the intelligent mind?'

'That may or may not be. Not being myself intelligent, but radically, or should I not rather say conservatively, stupid, I cannot say. But there is one thing I do know, which is known but to few, especially to few women, I know what I want; and I do not want paper-mills with the newest machinery for turning the pages of yesterday's immortal works into fresh paper on which to print the equally enduring works of to-morrow. I can equally dispense with tubular bridges, whatever they may happen to be, the latest thing in motor-cars, model farms, and elementary schools conducted on an entirely novel system, in which everything is taught except the elements of sound morals and good manners, and the rudiments of universal knowledge are instilled, which resolutely refuse to take root in the mind of the bucolic British boy. May I hope, too, that now Peace has happily been restored throughout His Majesty's dominions, we may see no newspapers other than Addison's Spectator?'

We had got down to gather a hedge posy, and at this point of the conversation Veronica and the Poet, who had been similarly employed not far off, joined us; when Lamia, not changing the theme, but somewhat altering its tone, continued:

'I confess I crave for the urbanity of the Past, for feminine serviceableness, for washing-days, home-made jams, lavender bags, recitation of Gray's Elegy, and
morning and evening prayers. One is offered, in place of them, ungraceful hurry and worry, perpetual postman's knocks, an intermittent shower of telegrams, reply not paid, dithyrambic vulgarity or life-not-worth-living lamentations, and individual infallibility accompanied by universal incredulity. Look round at this rustic old-world scene. Work is going on everywhere, but how quietly, how undemonstratively! Tell me, Veronica, we shall stay nowhere except at old inns, shall we, or with old people, and give utterance to none but the very oldest and most out-of-fashion ideas.'
Alfred Austin, Haunts of Ancient Peace 
Writing is a horrible business. It's an absolute nightmare job. The worst in the world. And the only way of making it bearable is to write about things that interest you and you care about.
James Delingpole
What a glut of books! Who can read them?
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
A part, a large part, of travelling is an engagement of the ego v. the world. The world is hydra headed, as old as the rocks and as changing as the sea, enmeshed inextricably in its ways. The ego wants to arrive at places safely and on time.
Sybille Bedford, The Quality of Travel, Esquire, November 1961
Facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth-century invention.
Alasdair MacIntyre
An old gentleman I heard last year when asked what he put his happy seventy years of marriage down to replied, "Two little words, yes dear."
Dominic Johnson

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