“So it is with readin’. I’m tol’ I ought to read more be Hogan, who’s wan iv th’ best-read an’ mos’ ignorant men I know. Well, maybe I ought, though whin I was a young man, an’ was helpin’ to build up this counthry, th’ principal use iv lithrachoor was as a weepin. In thim days, if a little boy was seen readin’ a book, his father took it away fr’m him an’ bate him on th’ head with it. Me father was th’ mos’ accyrate man in th’ wurruld with letthers. He found th’ range nachrally, an’ he cud wing anny wan iv us with th’ ‘Lives iv th’ Saints’ as far as he cud see. He was a poor man, an’ on’y had such books in his libr’y as a gintleman shud take, but if ye’d give him libr’y enough, he’d capture Giberaltor. If lithrachoor niver pinethrated me intelleck, ’twas not his fault. But nowadays, whin I go down th’ sthreet, I see th’ childher settin’ on th’ front steps studyin’ a book through double-compound-convex spectacles, lookin’ like th’ offspring of a profissyonal diver. What’ll they iver grow up to be? Be hivins! that la-ad Carnaygie knows his business. He is studied th’ situation, an’ he undhersthands that if he builds libr’ies enough an’ gets enough people readin’ books, they won’t be anny wan left afther a while capable iv takin’ away what he’s got. Ye bet he didn’t larn how to make steel billets out iv ‘Whin Knighthood was in Flower.’ He larned it be confabulatin’ afther wurrukin’ hours with some wan that knew how. I think he must be readin’ now, f’r he’s writin’ wan or two. ‘Tis th’ way with a man who takes to readin’ late in life. He can’t keep it down.
“Readin’, me frind, is talked about be all readin’ people as though it was th’ on’y thing that makes a man betther thin his neighbors. But th’ thruth is that readin’ is th’ nex’ thing this side iv goin’ to bed f’r restin’ th’ mind. With mos’ people it takes th’ place iv wurruk. A man doesn’t think whin he’s readin’, or if he has to, th’ book is no fun. Did ye iver have something to do that ye ought to do, but didn’t want to, an’ while ye was wishin’ ye was dead, did ye happen to pick up a newspaper? Ye know what occurred. Ye didn’t jus’ skim through th’ spoortin’ intillygince an’ th’ crime news. Whin ye got through with thim, ye read