Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The Excitement of the Subjunctive Mood
Well, and I sympathise with you in the strange feeling of coming on deck of a morning and seeing before you Cadiz, Algiers, Palermo or Ithaca, like the rounds in a Magic Lantern, though the middies and the crew take it as a matter of course."Ch. Ch." is Christ Church, and the "great scholar" is presumably Thomas Gaisford (1779-1855), as Ian Jackson (to whom I owe the quotation) pointed out to me.
One thing I confess lies outside my sympathy, though it touches me much, and all the more, viz. your having recourse to "The Grammar of Assent" as a refuge from the palm trees and apes. My imagination will not take it in, except as a pendant to that great Ch. Ch. Greek scholar who to relieve himself of the excitement of the subjunctive mood, used to take up a volume of the Tracts for the Times. I think he told me so himself.