Today we turn the page.
“Sweetmeats” is an odd word. It means candy, confections, candied fruit bonbons. From Middle English, swete (sweet) + mete (food), though I’m seeing both in the glossary of The Elements of Old English (1975). Wonder what the Old Greek is for sweets?
This will be a good week in our Pocket Library Guide to Daily Reading. Some folks we know, some new guys. As chance would have it, we are currently struggling with a sentence written by the author of today’s reading.
Daily Reading June 4
- Thackeray’s Dennis Haggerty’s Wife [You’ll need to click on Chapter 2 to RTWT.]
Boy. This Thackeray can write.
She left me to indulge my reflections for half-an-hour, at the end of which period she came downstairs dressed in an old yellow satin, with the poor shoulders exposed just as much as ever. She had mounted a tawdry cap, which Haggarty himself must have selected for her. She had all sorts of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in gold, in garnets, in mother-of-pearl, in ormolu. She brought in a furious savour of musk, which drove the odours of onions and turf-smoke before it; and she waved across her wretched angular mean scarred features an old cambric handkerchief with a yellow lace-border.
“And so you would have known me anywhere, Mr. Fitz-Boodle?” said she, with a grin that was meant to be most fascinating. “I was sure you would; for though my dreadful illness deprived me of my sight, it is a mercy that it did not change my features or complexion at all!”
This mortification had been spared the unhappy woman; but I don’t know whether, with all her vanity, her infernal pride, folly, and selfishness, it was charitable to leave her in her error.
Yet why correct her? There is a quality in certain people which is above all advice, exposure, or correction. Only let a man or woman have DULNESS sufficient, and they need bow to no extant authority. A dullard recognises no betters; a dullard can’t see that he is in the wrong; a dullard has no scruples of conscience, no doubts of pleasing, or succeeding, or doing right; no qualms for other people’s feelings, no respect but for the fool himself. How can you make a fool perceive he is a fool? Such a personage can no more see his own folly than he can see his own ears. And the great quality of Dulness is to be unalterably contented with itself. What myriads of souls are there of this admirable sort,–selfish, stingy, ignorant, passionate, brutal; bad sons, mothers, fathers, never known to do kind actions!
I am a day ahead in writing up the Daily Reading posts and have no idea what the 24 hours between writing and posting will bring. So stay well. Stay safe. Keep reading. And for the Love of God, and Mankind, do not encourage dullardism.