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View of Bombay Harbour, January 1870

"View of Bombay Harbour January, 1870"

Unknown Painter

  "Our evening walks were by the sea in the shadow of palm-groves which, I think, were called the Mahim Woods. When the wind blew the great nuts would tumble, and we fled—my ayah, and my sister in her perambulator—to the safety of the open. I have always felt the menacing darkness of tropical eventides, as I have loved the voices of night-winds through palm or banana leaves, and the song of the tree frogs."

--Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself



Aspens In Autumn

Aspens in Autumn
William S Rice
Woodcut in colors on Japanese Paper
c. 1930

"Frost had turned the leaves, and the mountainsides were splashed with golden clouds of aspen. Great banks of them poured down the steep slopes as though the earth had suddenly decided to give up and pour all her gold out to the waiting hands of men, only this gold was there for everyone to have- they had only to look. It was the kind of wealth that stayed with a man down the years, the kind you could never spend, but the memory of it waited in your mind to be refreshed when another autumn came."

-Louise L'Amour from "Tucker"


Mr. Pickwick in Chase of His Hat


"Mr Pickwick in Chase of His Hat"
Robert Seymour 

     "There are very few moments in a man’s existence, when he experiences so much ludicrous distress, or meets with so little charitable commiseration, as when he is in pursuit of his own hat. A vast deal of coolness, and a peculiar degree of judgment, are requisite in catching a hat. A man must not be precipitate, or he runs over it: he must not rush into the opposite extreme, or he loses it altogether. The best way is, to keep gently up with the object of pursuit, to be wary and cautious, to watch your opportunity well, get gradually before it, then make a rapid dive, seize it by the crown, and stick it firmly on your head: smiling pleasantly all the time, as if you thought it as good a joke as anybody else."

--Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Castle Ruins on a Cliff Edge

"Castle Ruins on a Cliff Edge"
Oil on Board
Samuel Bough (1822-1878)

"It is perhaps not possible to put into human language that emotion which rises when a man stands upon some plot of European soil and can say with certitude to himself: 'Such and such great, or wonderful, or beautiful things happened here . . .' There is a mood, and it is a mood common in men who have read and who have travelled, in which one is overwhelmed by the sanctity of a place on which men have done this or that a long, long time ago."

--Hilaire Belloc, First and Last, "The Absense of the Past" 

A Boy Reading

"A Boy Reading"
Oil on Canvas - 1795
Ramsay Richard Reinagle

"There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about `isms' and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator . . ."

"Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light. Often it cannot be fully understood without the knowledge of a good many other modern books. If you join at eleven o'clock a conversation which began at eight you will often not see the real bearing of what is said."

--C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, "On the Reading of Old Books"