Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Only secondhand books give you this

Tipped inside the inside cover of the first volume of Macaulay's History of England:

It's a five-volume edition, in all, so it would have been a handsome present, especially when books were scarce. This one is half-wrecked from reading, or at least handling; the others would be at least one condition category up. The text of the dedication, as you might just make out, is:

To Stan.

"I cannot allow other common friendships to be placed in the same line with ours. I have as much knowledge of them as another and of the most perfect of their kind, but I should not advise anyone to measure them with the same rule; he would be much mistaken. In those other friendships one has to walk with one's bridle in one's hand, prudently and cautiously: the knot is not tied so tightly but that it will cause some misgiving --- --- But in the other kind where we exhibit the very depths of our heart and make no reservations, truly all the springs of action must be perfectly 'clear and true'." (MONTAIGNE)

from Dicky, APRIL '45.

The date finishes it off nicely, I think. You can imagine some sort of pilot-and-rear-gunner scenario -- in comments, if you like.

[Macaulay, History of England From The Accession of James II, London, 1849-1861. Shameful to admit, but I'm just reading back to the point I'd reached last time I mentioned it. It'll be clear soon enough whether I've jinxed it again.]

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