Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alas, poor...

It is clearly impossible to have a self-portrait executed by a person other than one's self.

But there is nothing on Earth that Logic loves more than an opportunity to taunt us. Always remember, friends, that just because a thing is reported to be impossible doesn't mean it can't occasionally happen.

Sometimes, in his wild way of talking,
he would say, That gravity was an errant
scoundrel ; and he would add, -- of the
most dangerous kind too, ---- because a
sly one ; and that, he verily believed,
more honest, well-meaning people were
bubbled out of their goods and money
by it in one twelve-month, than by
pocket-picking and shop-lifting in seven.
In the naked temper which a merry heart
discovered, he would say, There was no
danger, -- but to itself : -- whereas the very
essence of gravity was design, and con-
sequently deceit ; -- 'twas a taught trick
to gain credit of the world for more sense
and knowledge than a man was worth ;
and that, with all its pretensions, -- it was
no better, but often worse, than what a
French wit had long ago defined it, -- viz.
A mysterious carriage of the body to cover
the defects of the mind
; -- which definition
of gravity, Eric, with great impru-
dence, would say, deserved to be wrote in
letters of gold.

But, in plain truth, he was a man un-
hackneyed and unpractised in the world,
and was altogether as indiscreet and
foolish on every other subject of discourse
where policy is wont to impress restraint.
Eric had no impression but one, and
that was what arose from the nature of
the deed spoken of ; which impression he
would usually translate into plain English
without any periphrasis, ---- and too
oft without much distinction of either
personage, time, or place ; -- so that when
mention was made of a pitiful or an
ungenerous proceeding, -- he never gave
himself a moment's time to reflect who
was the Hero of the piece, ---- what his
station, ---- or how far he had power to
hurt him hereafter ; -- but if it was a dirty
action, ---- without more ado, ---- The
man was a dirty fellow, -- and so on : --
And as his comments had usually the ill
fate to be terminated either in a bon mot,
or to be enliven'd throughout with some
drollery or humour of expression, it gave
wings to Eric's indiscretion. In a word,
tho' he never sought, yet, at the same
time, as he seldom shun'd occasions of
saying what came uppermost, and with-
out much ceremony ; ---- he had but too
many temptations in life, of scattering
his wit and his humour, -- his gibes and
his jests about him. ---- They were not
lost for want of gathering.

What were the consequences, and
what was Eric's catastrophe thereupon,
you will read in the next chapter.

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