Friday, June 11, 2004


Chinese Metaphysics

Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers, chapter 51:
"They appeared in the form of a copious review of a work on Chinese metaphysics, Sir," said Pott.

"Oh," observed Mr. Pickwick; "from your pen, I hope?"

"From the pen of my critic, Sir," rejoined Pott, with dignity.

"An abstruse subject, I should conceive," said Mr. Pickwick.

"Very, Sir," responded Pott, looking intensely sage. "He CRAMMED for it, to use a technical but expressive term; he read up for the subject, at my desire, in the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica.'"

"Indeed!" said Mr. Pickwick; "I was not aware that that valuable work contained any information respecting Chinese metaphysics."

"He read, Sir," rejoined Pott, laying his hand on Mr. Pickwick's knee, and looking round with a smile of intellectual superiority -- "he read for metaphysics under the letter M, and for China under the letter C, and combined his information, Sir!"

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