Tom Brown’s Schooldays – Thomas Hughes, 1857

For the Massachusetts Center for the Book challenge, “A book you read years ago that you may feel differently about now.” My brief summing up: “I read this 1857 classic multiple times as a child, absorbing its messages about becoming a stiff-upper-lip cricket-playing British boy despite being a timid American girl. It’s mostly as retrograde as I remember, but with a few flashes of heart and humor.” This time around I looked so many things up!

And a few quotes

  • “There isn’t such a reasonable fellow in the world, to hear him talk. He never wants anything but what’s right and fair; only when you come to settle what’s right and fair, it’s everything that he wants, and nothing that you want. And that’s his idea of a compromise.”
  • “if I go and snivel to him, and tell him I’ve really tried to learn it but found it so hard without a translation, or say I’ve had a toothache, or any humbug of that kind, I’m a snob”
  • “bear in mind that majorities, especially respectable ones, are nine times out of ten in the wrong”
  • East: “Now I’ve seen a deal of this sort of religion; I was bred up in it, and I can’t stand it. If nineteen-twentieths of the world are to be left to uncovenanted mercies, and that sort of thing, which means in plain English to go to hell, and the other twentieth are to rejoice at it all, why——” And when he tells his doubts to Arnold, “he didn’t tell me not to follow out my thoughts, and he didn’t give me any cut-and-dried explanation.”
  • Arnold: “Don’t be in a hurry about finding your work in the world for yourself; you are not old enough to judge for yourself yet, but just look about you in the place you find yourself in, and try to make things a little better and honester there. You’ll find plenty to keep your hand in at Oxford, or wherever else you go. And don’t be led away to think this part of the world important, and that unimportant. Every corner of the world is important. No man knows whether this part or that is most so, but every man may do some honest work in his own corner.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.