23 November 2009

from Uncle Vanya, Act Two (Anton Chekhov, trans. Michael Frayn)

ASTROV. A woman can become a man's friend only through the following progression: first - acquaintance; then - mistress; thereafter, certainly - friend.

21 November 2009

from How to be Topp, 8, Extra Tew (Geoffrey Willans)


How many days till the end of term, o molesvitch 2? Some say 20, others 90, little bro, is the fruit upon the aple tree in the orchard? Only the blosom so you will hav to wait a month or two before you can pinch them o measly weed it is 2006 miles to Moscow. Who cares sa fotherington tomas from a corner of the room where he hav been trussed up who cares a row of butons. i love only robins. Unless you love robins father christmas will not bring you any presents. A volley of shots rings out. WAM! 900 robins bite the dust. That only leaves father christmas, i sa, how flat life is . . . . . .

The swots tell me that rusian used to be like that chiz but it is all different now everybode is joly.

06 November 2009

from The Competition Wallah (G.O. Trevelyan), Letter XII and last, Education in India since 1835

The natives of India have, with marvellous eagerness and unanimity, abandoned the dead or effete learning of the East for the living and vigorous literature of England. Whoever can spare the time and money greedily avails himself of the instruction which we offer. 'To such an extent, indeed, is this the case' (I quote the Report on Public Instruction for Bengal Proper) 'that many of our best native scholars can write English and even speak it with greater facility than their mother-tongue'. Interest and ambition, the instinct of imitation and the thirst for knowledge, urge on the students; and, by the aid of a delicate taste, and a strong power of assimilation, their progress is surpassing to one accustomed to the very slender proficiency in the classical tongues obtained by the youth of England after a boyhood devoted almost exclusively to Xenophon and Cicero. Of two hundred scholars who leave Eton in the course of a year, it is much if some three or four can construe a chorus of Euripides without the aid of a translation, or polish up with infinite pains a piece of Latin prose which a Roman might possibly have mistaken for a parody of the 'De Officiis', composed by a Visigoth in the time of Diocletian.