Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free

In Association with
Tea-table Talk Jerome K. Jerome

Chapter IV

Page 5 of 5

Table Of Contents: Tea-table Talk

Previous Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"It is hardly fair," urged the Minor Poet, "to confine the discussion to poets. A friend of mine some years ago married one of the most charming women in New York, and that is saying a good deal. Everybody congratulated him, and at the outset he was pleased enough with himself. I met him two years later in Geneva, and we travelled together as far as Rome. He and his wife scarcely spoke to one another the whole journey, and before I left him he was good enough to give me advice which to another man might be useful. 'Never marry a charming woman,' he counselled me. 'Anything more unutterably dull than "the charming woman" outside business hours you cannot conceive.'"

"I think we must agree to regard the preacher," concluded the Philosopher, "merely as a brother artist. The singer may be a heavy, fleshy man with a taste for beer, but his voice stirs our souls. The preacher holds aloft his banner of purity. He waves it over his own head as much as over the heads of those around him. He does not cry with the Master, 'Come to Me,' but 'Come with me, and be saved.' The prayer 'Forgive them' was the prayer not of the Priest, but of the God. The prayer dictated to the Disciples was 'Forgive us,' 'Deliver us.' Not that he should be braver, not that he should be stronger than they that press behind him, is needed of the leader, but that he should know the way. He, too, may faint, he, too, may fall; only he alone must never turn his back."

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

"It is quite comprehensible, looked at from one point of view," remarked the Minor Poet, "that he who gives most to others should himself be weak. The professional athlete pays, I believe, the price of central weakness. It is a theory of mine that the charming, delightful people one meets with in society are people who have dishonestly kept to themselves gifts entrusted to them by Nature for the benefit of the whole community. Your conscientious, hard-working humorist is in private life a dull dog. The dishonest trustee of laughter, on the other hand, robbing the world of wit bestowed upon him for public purposes, becomes a brilliant conversationalist."

"But," added the Minor Poet, turning to me, "you were speaking of a man named Longrush, a great talker."

"A long talker," I corrected. "My cousin mentioned him third in her list of invitations. 'Longrush,' she said with conviction, 'we must have Longrush.' 'Isn't he rather tiresome?' I suggested. 'He is tiresome,' she agreed, 'but then he's so useful. He never lets the conversation drop.'"

"Why is it?" asked the Minor Poet. "Why, when we meet together, must we chatter like a mob of sparrows? Why must every assembly to be successful sound like the parrot-house of a zoological garden?"

"I remember a parrot story," I said, "but I forget who told it to me."

"Maybe one of us will remember as you go on," suggested the Philosopher.

"A man," I said--"an old farmer, if I remember rightly--had read a lot of parrot stories, or had heard them at the club. As a result he thought he would like himself to be the owner of a parrot, so journeyed to a dealer and, according to his own account, paid rather a long price for a choice specimen. A week later he re-entered the shop, the parrot borne behind him by a boy. 'This bird,' said the farmer, 'this bird you sold me last week ain't worth a sovereign!' 'What's the matter with it?' demanded the dealer. 'How do I know what's the matter with the bird?' answered the farmer. 'What I tell you is that it ain't worth a sovereign--'tain' t worth a half a sovereign!' 'Why not?' persisted the dealer; 'it talks all right, don't it?' 'Talks!' retorted the indignant farmer, 'the damn thing talks all day, but it never says anything funny!'"

"A friend of mine," said the Philosopher, "once had a parrot--"

"Won't you come into the garden?" said the Woman of the World, rising and leading the way.

Page 5 of 5 Previous Page   Next Chapter
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Tea-table Talk
Jerome K. Jerome

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004