Saturday, May 12, 2018

My Victorian Year #19

Last week I finished ORLEY FARM by Anthony Trollope. I started the next book in chronological order--The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson. I have also been reading Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

Quotes from The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson.
It will be observed by the literary and commercial world that, in this transaction, the name of the really responsible party does not show on the title-page. I — George Robinson — am that party.
Advertise, advertise, advertise; — and don’t stop to think too much about capital. It is a bugbear. Capital is a bugbear; and it is talked about by those who have it, — and by some that have not so much of it neither, — for the sake of putting down competition, and keeping the market to themselves.
They who’s up a bit is all for keeping down them who is down; and they who is down is so very soft through being down, that they’ve not spirit to force themselves up. Now I saw that very early in life.
Capital is a very nice thing if you can get it. It is the desirable result of trade. A tradesman looks to end with a capital. But it’s gammon to say that he can’t begin without it. You might as well say a man can’t marry unless he has first got a family. Why, he marries that he may have a family. It’s putting the cart before the horse.
Capital, though it’s a bugbear, nevertheless it’s a virtue. Therefore, as you haven’t got it, you must assume it. That’s credit. Credit I take to be the belief of other people in a thing that doesn’t really exist.
To obtain credit the only certain method is to advertise. Advertise, advertise, advertise. That is, assume, assume, assume. Go on assuming your virtue. The more you haven’t got it, the more you must assume it.
Smile sweet enough, and all the world will believe you. Advertise long enough, and credit will come.
 One cannot touch pitch and not be defiled.
O Commerce, how wonderful are thy ways, how vast thy power, how invisible thy dominion! Thou civilizest, hast civilized, and wilt civilize. Civilization is thy mission, and man’s welfare thine appointed charge. The nation that most warmly fosters thee shall ever be the greatest in the earth; and without thee no nation shall endure for a day. Thou art our Alpha and our Omega, our beginning and our end; the marrow of our bones, the salt of our life, the sap of our branches, the corner-stone of our temple, the rock of our foundation. We are built on thee, and for thee, and with thee. To worship thee should be man’s chiefest care, to know thy hidden ways his chosen study.
 “Buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest.” May those divine words be ever found engraved on the hearts of Brown, Jones, and Robinson!
Mr. Brown should put his “capital” into the business, and be entitled to half the profits. Mr. Jones and Mr. Robinson should give the firm the advantage of their youth, energies, and genius, and should each be held as the possessor of a quarter.
 “I’ll tell you what,” said Robinson; “there’s nothing like colour. We’ll call it Magenta House, and we’ll paint it magenta from the roof to the window tops.” This beautiful tint had only then been invented, and it was necessary to explain the word to Mr. Brown.
“And, I’ll tell you what,” said Robinson— “nine times nine is eighty-one.” “Certainly, certainly,” said Mr. Brown, who delighted to agree with his younger partner when circumstances admitted it. “You are right there, certainly.”
“But they must be paid some day, George.” “Of course they must; but it will never do to think of that now. In twelve months or so, when we have set the house well going, the payment of such bills as that will be a mere nothing, — a thing that will be passed as an item not worth notice.
“Morals above everything. In such an establishment as this, if we are not moral, we are nothing.” I supposed he was right, but it seemed to me to be very hard on the young men and women. I could only hope that they walked home together in the evening.
To startle men and women to any purpose, and drive them into Bishopsgate Street, you must startle them a great deal. It does not suffice to create a momentary wonder.
He had pledged himself to the firm, and was aware that it would ill become him to allow private sorrows to interfere with public duties.
Quotes from Little Women
 “Aunt March is a regular samphire, is she not?” observed Amy, tasting her mixture critically. “She means vampire, not seaweed, but it doesn’t matter. It’s too warm to be particular about one’s parts of speech,” murmured Jo.
“Don’t let us do any lessons, Beth, for a while, but play all the time and rest, as the girls mean to,” proposed Amy.
“May we, Mother?” asked Meg, turning to Mrs. March, who sat sewing in what they called “Marmee’s corner.” “You may try your experiment for a week and see how you like it. I think by Saturday night you will find that all play and no work is as bad as all work and no play.”
No one would own that they were tired of the experiment, but by Friday night each acknowledged to herself that she was glad the week was nearly done. Hoping to impress the lesson more deeply, Mrs. March, who had a good deal of humor, resolved to finish off the trial in an appropriate manner, so she gave Hannah a holiday and let the girls enjoy the full effect of the play system.
“Mother isn’t sick, only very tired, and she says she is going to stay quietly in her room all day and let us do the best we can. It’s a very queer thing for her to do, she doesn’t act a bit like herself. But she says it has been a hard week for her, so we mustn’t grumble but take care of ourselves.” 
So a tray was fitted out before anyone began, and taken up with the cook’s compliments. The boiled tea was very bitter, the omelet scorched, and the biscuits speckled with saleratus, but Mrs. March received her repast with thanks and laughed heartily over it after Jo was gone.
“Poor little souls, they will have a hard time, I’m afraid, but they won’t suffer, and it will do them good,” she said, producing the more palatable viands with which she had provided herself, and disposing of the bad breakfast, so that their feelings might not be hurt, a motherly little deception for which they were grateful.
Language cannot describe the anxieties, experiences, and exertions which Jo underwent that morning, and the dinner she served up became a standing joke.
Fearing to ask any more advice, she did her best alone, and discovered that something more than energy and good will is necessary to make a cook.
She boiled the asparagus for an hour and was grieved to find the heads cooked off and the stalks harder than ever.
At the conclusion of the ceremonies, Beth retired to her room, overcome with emotion and lobster, but there was no place of repose, for the beds were not made, and she found her grief much assuaged by beating up the pillows and putting things in order.
“Are you satisfied with your experiment, girls, or do you want another week of it?” she asked, as Beth nestled up to her and the rest turned toward her with brightening faces, as flowers turn toward the sun. “I don’t!” cried Jo decidedly. “Nor I,” echoed the others. “You think then, that it is better to have a few duties and live a little for others, do you?” “Lounging and larking doesn’t pay,” observed Jo, shaking her head. “I’m tired of it and mean to go to work at something right off.” So I thought, as a little lesson, I would show you what happens when everyone thinks only of herself. Don’t you feel that it is pleasanter to help one another, to have daily duties which make leisure sweet when it comes, and to bear and forbear, that home may be comfortable and lovely to us all?”  
My Dear: I write a little word to tell you with how much satisfaction I watch your efforts to control your temper. You say nothing about your trials, failures, or successes, and think, perhaps, that no one sees them but the Friend whose help you daily ask, if I may trust the well-worn cover of your guidebook. I, too, have seen them all, and heartily believe in the sincerity of your resolution, since it begins to bear fruit. Go on, dear, patiently and bravely, and always believe that no one sympathizes more tenderly with you than your loving . . . MOTHER
I’ll work hard and not trouble anyone, and you’ll take care of me, Jo, so I’ll go.” “That’s my good girl. You do try to fight off your shyness, and I love you for it. Fighting faults isn’t easy, as I know, and a cheery word kind of gives a lift.
“My sister Beth is a very fastidious girl, when she likes to be,” said Amy, well pleased at Beth’s success. She meant “fascinating,” but as Grace didn’t know the exact meaning of either word, fastidious sounded well and made a good impression.
“Wouldn’t it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true, and we could live in them?” said Jo, after a little pause. “I’ve made such quantities it would be hard to choose which I’d have,” said Laurie, lying flat and throwing cones at the squirrel who had betrayed him.
“Are you going to deliver lectures all the way home?” he asked presently. “Of course not. Why?” “Because if you are, I’ll take a bus. If you’re not, I’d like to walk with you and tell you something very interesting.”
“November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year,” said Margaret, standing at the window one dull afternoon, looking out at the frostbitten garden. “That’s the reason I was born in it,” observed Jo pensively, quite unconscious of the blot on her nose.
Go on with your work as usual, for work is a blessed solace. Hope and keep busy, and whatever happens, remember that you never can be fatherless.” “Yes, Mother.”
I rushed up garret when the letter came, and tried to thank god for being so good to us, but I could only cry, and say, “I’m glad! I’m glad!” Didn’t that do as well as a regular prayer? For I felt a great many in my heart.
“Oh, Jo, it’s not so bad as that?” cried Laurie, with a startled face. “Yes, it is. She doesn’t know us, she doesn’t even talk about the flocks of green doves, as she calls the vine leaves on the wall. She doesn’t look like my Beth, and there’s nobody to help us bear it. Mother and Father both gone, and God seems so far away I can’t find Him.”
 
© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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