Saturday, May 24, 2014


A Bond Between People

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), "Gertrude Jekyll," Reperusals and Re-Collections (London: Constable & Company Ltd., 1936), pp. 49-65 (at 52):
To share with one or two people, with perhaps a little group of people, a hobby or special and intense interest, to know all about something of which others know and care nothing—door-knockers, perhaps, jade, or shoe-buckles, fifteenth-century editions of the Bible, or monastic tiles—to collect the finest specimens, to boast of them to fellow-collectors; to dispute and quarrel over them with the subtlest shades of depreciation and discrimination—this is the sort of thing that forms a bond between people which is capable of outlasting many other ties. It will chafe them sometimes, but they cannot break it—they cannot get on without each other. Delicate hoops of steel grapple their souls together; and the fewer there are who share their interest, the more they love to correspond and perhaps to meet. They are often far apart in age, place and social standing; great abysses, moral, political or religious, may yawn between them; they may most strongly disapprove of, and even dislike, each other, but when they gather in a little group to discuss their special subject all other considerations seem of no importance—all seem, indeed, as that great nobleman in The Young Visiters, the Earl of Clincham, said to Mr. Salteena, 'as piffle before the wind.' Language being never adequate to describe all the relationships of people to each other, I have invented the word milver to describe those who share a fad in common. I find it both a useful and a pretty word; it fills a gap in my vocabulary, and provides, moreover, an echo for the word silver, which is otherwise without a rhyme.
Id., pp. 59-60:
I have said that Miss Jekyll did not like our modern ways of speech: I think, indeed, that her plain, old, aristocratic face was firmly set against all new fashions and innovations; that if they were ever forced upon her attention an immense Disapproval would be the expression which would settle on her features. One felt with her that one was in the presence of another and now vanished generation, with standards of its own, discriminations, exclusions, niceties of speech and behaviour, which would be almost incomprehensible to young people now.
Related post: Milver.

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