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You may spit upon Shylock’s gaberdine, but the day comes when he demands his pound of flesh; every blow, every insult, not without a certain satisfaction, he adds to the account running up against you in the day-book and ledger of his hate—which at the proper time he will ask you to discharge.Every way we look we see even-handed nature administering her laws of compensation. The usurper rolls along like a god, surrounded by his guards.I attend neither rout nor ball; I have no deeper dissipation than the tea-table; I hear no more exciting scandal than quiet village gossip.
Another that she is a lady of fashion, and treads on cloth of gold.
Wisdom, listening to both, shakes a white head, and considers that “a good deal may be said on both sides.” There is a wise saying to the effect that “a man can eat no more than he can hold.” Every man gets about the same satisfaction out of life. Suddlechops, the barber of Seven Dials, is as happy as Alexander at the head of his legions.
I have already described my environments and my mode of life, and out of both I contrive to extract a very tolerable amount of satisfaction.
Love in a cottage, with a broken window to let in the rain, is not my idea of comfort; no more is Dignity, walking forth richly clad, to whom every head uncovers, every knee grows supple.
Skylarks are primarily created to sing, although a whole choir of them may be baked in pies and brought to table; they were born to make music, although they may incidentally stay the pangs of vulgar hunger.
The essayist is a kind of poet in prose, and if questioned harshly as to his uses, he might be unable to render a better apology for his existence than a flower might.
Bruin in winter-time fondly sucking his own paws, loses flesh; and love, feeding upon itself, dies of inanition.
Take the candle of death in your hand, and walk through the stately galleries of the world, and their splendid furniture and array are as the tinsel armour and pasteboard goblets of a penny theatre; fame is but an inscription on a grave, and glory the melancholy blazon on a coffin lid. One insists that she is found in the cottage which the hawthorn shades.
The coarse rich man rates his domestic, but there is a thought in the domestic’s brain, docile and respectful as he looks, which makes the matter equal, which would madden the rich man if he knew it—make him wince as with a shrewdest twinge of hereditary gout.
For insult and degradation are not without their peculiar solaces.