Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 669 pages of information about Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest.

I had often heard of one Glorious John, who lived at the western end of the town; on consulting Taggart, he told me that it was possible that Glorious John would publish my ballads and Ab Gwilym, that is, said he, taking a pinch of snuff, provided you can see him; so I went to the house where Glorious John resided, and a glorious house it was, but I could not see Glorious John—­I called a dozen times, but I never could see Glorious John.  Twenty years after, by the greatest chance in the world, I saw Glorious John, and sure enough Glorious John published my books, but they were different books from the first; I never offered my ballads or Ab Gwilym to Glorious John.  Glorious John was no snuff-taker.  He asked me to dinner, and treated me with superb Rhenish wine.  Glorious John is now gone to his rest, but I—­what was I going to say?—­the world will never forget Glorious John.

So I returned to my last resource for the time then being—­to the publisher, persevering doggedly in my labour.  One day, on visiting the publisher, I found him stamping with fury upon certain fragments of paper.  ‘Sir,’ said he, ’you know nothing of German; I have shown your translation of the first chapter of my Philosophy to several Germans:  it is utterly unintelligible to them.’  ‘Did they see the Philosophy?’ I replied.  ’They did, sir, but they did not profess to understand English.’  ‘No more do I,’ I replied, ‘if that Philosophy be English.’

The publisher was furious—­I was silent.  For want of a pinch of snuff, I had recourse to something which is no bad substitute for a pinch of snuff, to those who can’t take it, silent contempt; at first it made the publisher more furious, as perhaps a pinch of snuff would; it, however, eventually calmed him, and he ordered me back to my occupations, in other words, the compilation.  To be brief, the compilation was completed, I got paid in the usual manner, and forthwith left him.

He was a clever man, but what a difference in clever men!

CHAPTER XLIV

The old spot—­A long history—­Thou shalt not steal—­No harm—­Education—­Necessity—­Foam on your lip—­Apples and pears—­What will you read?—­Metaphor—­The fur cap—­I don’t know him.

It was past midwinter, and I sat on London Bridge, in company with the old apple-woman:  she had just returned to the other side of the bridge, to her place in the booth where I had originally found her.  This she had done after frequent conversations with me; ’she liked the old place best,’ she said, which she would never have left but for the terror which she experienced when the boys ran away with her book.  So I sat with her at the old spot, one afternoon past midwinter, reading the book, of which I had by this time come to the last pages.  I had observed that the old woman for some time past had shown much less anxiety about the book than she had been in the habit of doing.  I was, however, not quite prepared for her offering to make me a present of it, which she did that afternoon; when, having finished it, I returned it to her, with many thanks for the pleasure and instruction I had derived from its perusal.  ‘You may keep it, dear,’ said the old woman, with a sigh; ’you may carry it to your lodging, and keep it for your own.’

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Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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