Saturday, May 19, 2012


Up in Smoke

W. Robertson Nicoll (1851-1923), A Bookman's Letters (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1913), p. 113 (on George Augustus Simcox):
His temperament did not fit him for the routine work of a tutorship, though the best men enjoyed his teaching. He could be very sarcastic with duller pupils. To one such, in handing him back his copy of prose, he said with his peculiar smile and gurgling chuckle: 'Do you smoke?' 'Yes, sir,' replied the youth, expecting to be offered the opportunity. 'Then you can take this to light your cigar,' replied Simcox with further chucklings.
Prose is of course to be understood here in Oxford English Dictionary sense 2.b: "a passage of Greek or Latin prose composed or (more usually) translated as an exercise."

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