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On Nothing and Kindred Subjects

Hilaire Belloc

Book Overview: 

“I knew a man once, Maurice, who was at Oxford for three years, and after that went down with no degree. At College, while his friends were seeking for Truth in funny brown German Philosophies, Sham Religions, stinking bottles and identical equations, he was lying on his back in Eynsham meadows thinking of Nothing, and got the Truth by this parallel road of his much more quickly than did they by theirs; for the asses are still seeking, mildly disputing, and, in a cultivated manner, following the gleam, so that they have become in their Donnish middleage a nuisance and a pest; while he--that other--with the Truth very fast and firm at the end of a leather thong is dragging her sliding, whining and crouching on her four feet, dragging her reluctant through the world, even into the broad daylight where Truth most hates to be.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .r of newspapers such as she is given to reading for her recreation were bought at a neighbouring shop. When she had drunk her wine and read in their entirety the Daily Telegraph, the Morning Post, the Standard, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Times, the Daily News, and even the Advertiser, I was glad to see her sink into a profound slumber.

I will confess that the jealousy which is easily aroused among servants when one of their number is treated with any special courtesy gave me some concern, and I was at the pains of explaining to the household not only the grave indisposition from which the Muse suffered, but also the obligation I was under to her on account of her virtues: which were, her long and faithful service, her willingness, and the excess of work which she had recently been compelled to perform. Her fellow-servants, to my astonishment and pleasure, entered at once into the spirit of my apology: the still-room maid offered to sit up with her all n. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Wonderful essays ranging from the uproariously funny to the truly profound.

I like this better than his political works. Random essays about various things, often framed in the context of traveling. Some essays are profound, like the unknown country or the faery castle. Others are silly, like Ignorance. But all are well worth the reading. I was surprised to find the book...more

"It was incredible to him that a Sentient Being who perpetually accumulated experience, who grew riper and riper, more and more full of such knowledge as was native to himself and complementary to his nature, should at the very crisis of his success in all things intellectual and emotional, cease...more