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rubbish about which I neither know nor care any more than the man in the moon ?”
“Perhaps,” said Lady Clarinda, “I saw your design, and wished to put your generalship to the test. But do not contradict any thing I have said about you, and see if the learned will find you out.”
“There is fine music, as Rabelais observes, in the cliquetis d'assiettes, a refreshing shade in the ombre de salle à manger, and an elegant fragrance in the fumée de rôti,” said a voice at the Captain's elbow. The Captain turning round, recognised his clerical friend of the morning, who knew him again immediately, and said he was extremely glad to meet him there; more especially as Lady Clarinda had assured him that he was an enthusiastic lover of Greek poetry.
“Lady Clarinda,” said the Captain, “is a very pleasant young lady.”
THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. So she is, sir: and I understand she has all the wit of the family to herself, whatever that totum may be. But a glass of wine after soup is, as the French say, the verre de santé. The current of opinion sets in favor of Hock: but I am for Madeira; I do not fancy Hock till I have laid a substratum of Madeira. Will you join me?
THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Here is a very fine salmon before me: and May is the very point nommé to have salmon in perfection. There is a fine turbot close by, and there is much to be said in his behalf : but salmon in May is the king of fish.
MR. CROTCHET. That salmon before you, doctor, was caught in the Thames, this morning,
THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Tamarãi! Rarity of rarities ! A Thames salmon caught this morning. Now, Mr. Mac Quedy, even in fish your Modern Athens must yield. Cedite Graii.
MR. MAC QUEDY. Eh! sir, on its own ground, your Thames salmon has two virtues over all others; first, that it is fresh ; and, second, that it is rare; for I understand you do not take half a dozen in a year.
THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. In some years, sir, not one. Mud, filth, gas-dregs, lock-wiers, and the march of mind, developed in the form of poaching, have ruined the fishery. But, when we do catch a salmon, happy the man to whom he falls.
MR. MAC QUEDY.
not see why it should be better than a Tweed salmon at Kelso.
THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT.
MR. MAC QUEDY. With all my heart, sir. There are several varieties of the salmon genus : but the common salmon, the salmo salar, is only one species, one and the same every where, just like the human mind. Locality and education make all the difference.
THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Education! Well, sir, I have no doubt schools for all are just as fit for the species salmo salar as for the genus homo. But you must allow that the specimen before us has finished his education in a manner that does honor to his college. However, I doubt that the salmo salar is only one species, that is
to say, precisely alike in all localities. I hold that every river has its own breed, with essential differences; in flavor especially. And as for the human mind, I deny that it is the same in all men. I hold that there is every variety of natural capacity from the idiot to Newton and Shakspeare; the mass of mankind, midway between these extremes, being blockheads of different degrees; education leaving them pretty nearly as it found them, with this single difference, that it gives a fixed direction to their stupidity, a sort of incurable wry neck to the thing they call their understanding. So one nose points always east, and another always west, and each is ready to swear that it points due north.
MR. CROTCHET. If that be the point of truth, very few intellectual noses point due north.