Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Those Old Classical Parties

Cuthbert Bede (i.e. Edward Bradley), The Further Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, an Oxford Under-Graduate (London: H. Ingram & Co., 1854), pp. 38-39:
"What! Harry Bouncer devoting himself to study! But this is the age of wonders," said Charles Larkyns, who entered the room in company with Mr. Verdant Green, whose forehead still betrayed the effects of the blow he had received a few nights before.

"It ain't reading that I meant," replied Mr. Bouncer, "though that always does floor me, and no mistake! and what's the use of their making us peg away so at Latin and Greek, I can't make out. When I go out into society, I don't want to talk about those old Greek and Latin birds that they make us get up. I don't want to ask any old dowager I happen to fall in with at a tea-fight, whether she believes all the crammers that Herodotus tells us, or whether she's well up in the naughty tales and rummy nuisances that we have to pass no end of our years in getting by heart. And when I go to a ball, and do the light fantastic, I don't want to ask my partner what she thinks about Euripides, or whether she prefers Ovid's Metamorphoses to Ovid's Art of Love, and all that sort of thing; and as for requesting her to do me a problem of Euclid, instead of working me any glorified slippers or woolleries, I'd scorn the haction. I ain't like you, Charley, and I'm not guv in the classics: I saw too much of the beggars while I was at Eton to take kindly to 'em; and just let me once get through my Greats, and see if I don't precious soon drop the acquaintance of those old classical parties!"

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