"That truth should be silent I had almost forgot"--Enobarbus in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, back in Rome after having been too long in Egypt.---------
Melville's PIERRE, Book 4, chapter 5: "Something ever comes of all persistent inquiry; we are not so continually curious for nothing."
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Bob Cuddy in the SLO NEW TIMES today quotes "Your Boy is Barefoot."
What a delight to see a great (semi-retired) journalist quote Melville's THE CONFIDENCE-MAN!
From a text of THE CONFIDENCE-MAN on the Internet. Not proofed against 1857.
bless your goodness, friend Orchis,' replied the candle-maker, 'but don't take
it illy if I call to mind the word of my uncle, the blacksmith, who, when a
loan was offered him, declined it, saying: "To ply my own hammer, light
though it be, I think best, rather than piece it out heavier by welding to it a
bit off a neighbor's hammer, though that may have some weight to spare;
otherwise, were the borrowed bit suddenly wanted again, it might not split off
at the welding, but too much to one side or the other."'
friend China Aster, don't be so honest; your boy is barefoot. Besides, a rich
man lose by a poor man? Or a friend be the worse by a friend? China Aster, I am
afraid that, in leaning over into your vats here, this, morning, you have
spilled out your wisdom. Hush! I won't hear any more. Where's your desk? Oh,
here.' With that, Orchis dashed off a check on his bank, and off-handedly
presenting it, said: 'There, friend China Aster, is your one thousand dollars;
when you make it ten thousand, as you soon enough will (for experience, the
only true knowledge, teaches me that, for every one, good luck is in store),
then, China Aster, why, then you can return me the money or not, just as you
please. But, in any event, give yourself no concern, for I shall never demand
as kind heaven will so have it that to a hungry man bread is a great
temptation, and, therefore, he is not too harshly to be blamed, if, when freely
offered, he take it, even though it be uncertain whether he shall ever be able
to reciprocate; so, to a poor man, proffered money is equally enticing, and the
worst that can be said of him, if he accept it, is just what can be said in the
other case of the hungry man. In short, the poor candle-maker's scrupulous
morality succumbed to his unscrupulous necessity, as is now and then apt to be
the case. He took the check, and was about carefully putting it away for the
present, when Orchis, switching about again with his gold-headed cane, said:
'By-the-way, China Aster, it don't mean anything, but suppose you make a little
memorandum of this; won't do any harm, you know.' So China Aster gave Orchis
his note for one thousand dollars on demand. Orchis took it, and looked at it a
moment, 'Pooh, I told you, friend China Aster, I wasn't going ever to make any demand.' Then tearing up the note, and
switching away again at the candle-boxes, said, carelessly; 'Put it at four
years.' So China Aster gave Orchis his note for one thousand dollars at four
years. 'You see I'll never trouble you about this,' said Orchis, slipping it in
his pocket-book, 'give yourself no further thought, friend China Aster, than
how best to invest your money. And don't forget my hint about spermaceti. Go
into that, and I'll buy all my light of you,' with which encouraging words, he,
with wonted, rattling kindness, took leave.