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Lavengro by George Henry Borrow

'Here's to our better acquaintance


'A

troublesome world this, sir,' said I, looking at him.

'Yes,' said the young man, looking fixedly at me; 'but I am afraid we bring most of our troubles on our own heads--at least I can say so of myself,' he added, laughing. Then, after a pause, 'I beg pardon,' he said, 'but am I not addressing one of my own country?'

'Of what country are you?' said I.

'Ireland.'

'I am not of your country, sir; but I have an infinite veneration for your country, as Strap said to the French soldier. Will you take a glass of wine?'

'Ah, de tout mon coeur, as the parasite said to Gil Blas,' cried the young man, laughing. 'Here's to our better acquaintance!'

And better acquainted we soon became; and I found that, in making the acquaintance of the young man, I had indeed made a valuable acquisition; he was accomplished, highly connected, and bore the name of Francis Ardry. Frank and ardent he was, and in a very little time had told me much that related to himself, and in return I communicated a general outline of my own history; he listened with profound attention, but laughed heartily when I told him some particulars of my visit in the morning to the publisher, whom he had frequently heard of.

We left the house together.

'We

shall soon see each other again,' said he, as we separated at the door of my lodging.

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

DINE WITH THE PUBLISHER--RELIGIONS--NO ANIMAL FOOD--UNPROFITABLE DISCUSSIONS--PRINCIPLES OF CRITICISM--THE BOOK MARKET--NEWGATE LIVES--GOETHE--GERMAN ACQUIREMENTS--MORAL DIGNITY

On the Sunday I was punctual to my appointment to dine with the publisher. As I hurried along the square in which his house stood, my thoughts were fixed so intently on the great man, that I passed by him without seeing him. He had observed me, however, and joined me just as I was about to knock at the door. 'Let us take a turn in the square,' said he, 'we shall not dine for half an hour.'

'Well,' said he, as we were walking in the square, 'what have you been doing since I last saw you?'

'I have been looking about London,' said I, 'and I have bought the _Dairyman's Daughter_; here it is.'

'Pray put it up,' said the publisher; 'I don't want to look at such trash. Well, do you think you could write anything like it?'

'I do not,' said I.

'How is that?' said the publisher, looking at me.

'Because,' said I, 'the man who wrote it seems to be perfectly well acquainted with his subject; and, moreover, to write from the heart.'

'By the subject you mean--'

'Religion.'

'And ain't you acquainted with religion?'


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