26 October 2008
from Cranford, chapter V, Old Letters (Elizabeth Gaskell)
I have often noticed that almost every one has his own individual small economies - careful habits of saving fractions of pennies in some one peculiar direction - any disturbance of which annoys him more than spending shillings or pounds on some real extravagance. [...] I am not above owning that I have this human weakness myself. String is my foible. My pockets get full of little hanks of it, picked up and twisted together, ready for uses that never come. I am seriously annoyed if any one cuts the string of a parcel instead of patiently and faithfully undoing it fold by fold. How people can bring themselves to use india-rubber rings, which are a sort of deification of string, as lightly as they do, I cannot imagine. To me an india-rubber ring is a precious treasure. I have one which is not new - one that I picked up off the floor nearly six years ago. I have really tried to use it, but my heart failed me, and I could not commit the extravagance.