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                                          • Chapter 5


                                            Bond looked across at Tatiana. Her face was pale. In her eyes there was an appeal to be saved from any more of this clumsy, non-kulturny man. Bond said, `What about lunch?' She got up at once. `What about you, Nash?''It can hardly be interesting to you,' said I. 'Yes, if you wish to know.'


                                                                                    • 鈥楴ow, my own Laura, I am going to my long task of reading the Granth. It puts me on vantage-ground when I can tell the Natives that I have read their Scriptures.鈥橖/p>

                                                                                      When contact with the outside world had been completely severed, each isolated people was able to readjust itself mentally by accepting the fiction that it was in fact the whole of mankind and that its state was the world empire. The sacred formulae for production and consumption could not, of course, any longer be literally applied; but they were ‘symbolically interpreted’ to mean something very different from their original intention, something adapted to the reduced life of the ‘world empire’. It was interesting to observe the stages by which this reinterpretation established itself.As to my private reading, I can only speak of what I remember. History continued to be my strongest predilection, and most of all ancient history. Mitford's Greece I read continually; my father had put me on my guard against the Tory prejudices of this writer, and his perversions of facts for the white-washing of despot, and blackening of popular institutions. These points he discoursed on, exemplifying them from the Greek orators and historians, with such effect that in reading Mitford my sympathies were always on the contrary side to those of the author, and I could, to some extent, have argued the point against him: yet this did not diminish the ever new pleasure with which I read the book. Roman history, both in my old favourite, Hooke, and in Ferguson, continued to delight me. A book which, in spite of what is called the dryness of its style, I took great pleasure in, was the Ancient Universal History, through the incessant reading of which I had my head full of historical details concerning the obscurest ancient people, while about modern history, except detached passages, such as the Dutch war of independence, I knew and cared comparatively little. A voluntary exercise, to which throughout my boyhood I was much addicted, was what I called writing histories. I successively imposed a Roman history, picked out of Hooke; an abridgment of the Ancient Universal History; a History of Holland, from my favourite Watson and from an anonymous compilation; and in my eleventh and twelfth year I occupied myself with writing what I flattered myself was something serious. This was no less than a history of the Roman Government, compiled (with the assistance of Hooke) from Livy and Dionysius: of which I wrote as much as would have made an octavo volume, extending to the epoch of the Licinian Laws. It was, in fact, an account of the struggles between the patricians and plebeians, which now engrossed all the interest in my mind which I had previously felt in the mere wars and conquest of the Romans. I discussed all the institutional point as they arose: though quite ignorant of Niebuhr's researches, I, by such lights as my father had given me, vindicated the Agrarian Laws on the evidence of Livy, and upheld to the best of my ability the Roman democratic party. A few years later, in my contempt of my childish efforts, I destroyed all these papers, not then anticipating that I could ever feel any curiosity about my first attempt at writing and reasoning. My father encouraged me in this useful amusement, though, as I think judiciously, he never asked to see what I wrote; so that I did not feel that in writing it I was accountable to any one, nor had the chilling sensation of being under a critical eye.




                                                                                                                              • AND INDIA.