Did I say that?

I am having a difficult week – some hours in hospital trying to locate a blood clot which may, in fact, not exist. So self indulgently I have gone straight for those attractive little quotes – which tend to be amusing and, often indirectly, wise. I have chosen the Anglican minister Sydney Smith as the author; early 19th century.
However three of the quotes are written not by Smith but by me. Can you spot them?
Perhaps readers will have other examples for us to enjoy.

* * *

I never could find any man who could think for two minutes together.

(Macaulay) is like a book in breeches.

(Macaulay) has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.

My definition of marriage — it resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes in between them.

I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so.

The great spectacle of human happiness.

It is a place with only one post a day…In the country I always fear that creation will expire before teatime.

Minorities – are almost always in the right.

Poverty is no disgrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient.

I am convinced that digestion is the great secret of life.

One of the greatest pleasures of life is conversation.

How can a bishop marry? How can he flirt? The most he can say is, “I will see you in the vestry after service.”

A Curate—there is something which excites compassion in the very name of a Curate!

Those who change their minds change their friends.

I have no relish for the country, it is a kind of healthy grave.

I am going to pray for you at St Pauls, but with no very lively hope of success.

No furniture as charming as books.

The religious mind exchanges thought for Holy Writ.

I require a special operation to get a joke well into a Scotch understanding. Their only idea of wit is laughing immoderately at stated intervals.

I look upon Switzerland as an inferior sort of Scotland.

What a pity it is that we have no amusements in England but vice and religion.

About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Quentin queries and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Did I say that?

  1. David Smith says:

    Quentin writes:

    // Minorities – are almost always in the right. //

    Everyone is always in the right, which is why a civilization based on individualism is certain to fail.

    May they not find the nonexistent clot and realize that they have no responsible choice but to give you a clean bill of health.

  2. David Smith says:

    // Poverty is no disgrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient //

    Some people are simply not fit for work in a competitive environment. They may not consciously and deliberately choose to be poor, but they hardly have the option to be otherwise. They can be given a dole paid out of workers’ taxes, but that’s likely to lead to conspicuous sloth and, not uncommonly, to criminality. Better to give them work of some public utility for which they don’t have to compete and which they run no risk of losing.

  3. David Smith says:

    // I never could find any man who could think for two minutes together. //

    Most of us, I think, need to pause after a certain amount of effort, in mental work as in physical work. Only machines are designed to work without stopping. Earlier tonight, I was listening to a recording of G. K. Chesterton giving a talk. He paused from time to time as he spoke, as he thought about what he was going to say next. I’m reasonably certain that he was no intellectual slacker.

    • milliganp says:

      I think Sydney Smith was trying to make a more significant point; Donald Trump can talk for 30 minutes without betraying any evidence of thought. Merely stating what you know or arguing a point without being open to other points of view does not require serious thought. I think this particular topic links indirectly to the previous topic on prejudice, it is just as common in intellectual circles to find that the majority hold fixed positions which are not subject to appropriate scrutiny.

      • John Candido says:

        As someone interested in American politics I have some good news.

        If reports of Donald Trump telephoning the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, are accurate; Trump will be impeached very quickly.

        Trump is trying to gain an advantage over Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential race.

        Much like American campaign finance laws, it is illegal for any American politician to obtain an edge over their political opponent that involves using a foreign nation-state.

        Trump is a morally-challenged moron.

        He has learnt nothing over the controversy about Russia assisting his campaign back in 2016, which was one of the principal foci of the Mueller report.

  4. galerimo says:

    These three are yours
    ——————————————————–
    My definition of marriage — it resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes in between them.

    Those who change their minds change their friends.

    The religious mind exchanges thought for Holy Writ.
    ————————————————————–
    and I hope they issued from your well recovered self.

  5. David Smith says:

    // The great spectacle of human happiness. //

    That’s an odd one, at least out of context. I first read it thinking of masses of smiling faces, an unsettling image. But perhaps, hopefully, he had individuals in mind. Different kettle of beeswax.

  6. David Smith says:

    // Those who change their minds change their friends. //

    Do we ever change our minds? Or do we simply recalculate?

  7. David Smith says:

    // I have no relish for the country, it is a kind of healthy grave. //

    The country is lovely, violent under cover of peace, dirty, and buggy. But by taking us out of the unremitting noise of clustered and compacted humanity, it brings us into contact with ourselves.

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