15 October 2013

Are They That Sort?

E. M. Forster, A Room With a View (London: E. Arnold, 1908), pp. 191-192
The passage was blocked by a wardrobe, which the removal men had failed to carry up the stairs. Mr. Beebe edged round it with difficulty. The sitting-room itself was blocked with books.

"Are these people great readers?" Freddy whispered. "Are they that sort?"

"I fancy they know how to read — a rare accomplishment. What have they got? Byron. Exactly. 'A Shropshire Lad'. Never heard of it. 'The Way of All Flesh'. Never heard of it. Gibbon. Hullo! dear George reads German. Um — um —Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and so we go on. Well, I suppose your generation knows its own business, Honeychurch."

"Mr. Beebe, look at that," said Freddy in awestruck tones.

On the cornice of the wardrobe, the hand of an amateur had painted this inscription: "Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes."

"I know. Isn't it jolly? I like that. I'm certain that's the old man's doing."

"How very odd of him!"

"Surely you agree?"

But Freddy was his mother's son and felt that one ought not to go on spoiling the furniture.
Franz von Defregger, Lesender Mann (1872)