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Lavengro by George Henry Borrow

' said Taggart to me one morning


young gentleman,' said Taggart to me one morning, when we chanced to be alone a few days after the affair of the cancelling, 'how do you like authorship?'

'I scarcely call authorship the drudgery I am engaged in,' said I.

'What do you call authorship?' said Taggart.

'I scarcely know,' said I; 'that is, I can scarcely express what I think it.'

'Shall I help you out?' said Taggart, turning round his chair, and looking at me.

'If you like,' said I.

'To write something grand,' said Taggart, taking snuff; 'to be stared at--lifted on people's shoulders--'

'Well,' said I, 'that is something like it.'

Taggart took snuff. 'Well,' said he, 'why don't you write something grand?'

'I have,' said I.

'What?' said Taggart.

'Why,' said I, 'there are those ballads.'

Taggart took snuff.

'And those wonderful versions from Ab Gwilym.'

Taggart took snuff again.

'You seem to be very fond of snuff,' said I, looking at him angrily.

Taggart tapped his


'Have you taken it long?'

'Three-and-twenty years.'

'What snuff do you take?'

'Universal mixture.'

'And you find it of use?'

Taggart tapped his box.

'In what respect?' said I.

'In many--there is nothing like it to get a man through; but for snuff I should scarcely be where I am now.'

'Have you been long here?'

'Three-and-twenty years.'

'Dear me,' said I; 'and snuff brought you through? Give me a pinch--pah, I don't like it,' and I sneezed.

'Take another pinch,' said Taggart.

'No,' said I, 'I don't like snuff.'

'Then you will never do for authorship; at least for this kind.'

'So I begin to think--what shall I do?'

Taggart took snuff.

'You were talking of a great work--what shall it be?'

Taggart took snuff.

'Do you think I could write one?'

Taggart uplifted his two forefingers as if to tap, he did not, however.

'It would require time,' said I, with a half sigh.

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