perjurers are contributing to the American Board with frequency:
it is money filched from the sworn-off personal tax; therefore it
is the wages of sin; therefore it is my money; therefore it is _I_
that contribute it; and, finally, it is therefore as I have said:
since the Board daily accepts contributions from me, why should it
decline them from Mr. Rockefeller, who is as good as I am, let the
courts say what they may?
INTRODUCTION TO “THE NEW GUIDE OF THE CONVERSATION IN
PORTUGUESE AND ENGLISH”
by Pedro Carolino
In this world of uncertainties, there is, at any rate, one thing
which may be pretty confidently set down as a certainty: and that is,
that this celebrated little phrase-book will never die while the
English language lasts. Its delicious unconscious ridiculousness,
and its enchanting na:ivet’e, as are supreme and unapproachable,
in their way, as are Shakespeare’s sublimities. Whatsoever is
perfect in its kind, in literature, is imperishable: nobody can
imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow;
it is perfect, it must and will stand alone: its immortality
It is one of the smallest books in the world, but few big books have
received such wide attention, and been so much pondered by the grave
and learned, and so much discussed and written about by the thoughtful,
the thoughtless, the wise, and the foolish. Long notices of it
have appeared, from time to time, in the great English reviews,
and in erudite and authoritative philological periodicals; and it
has been laughed at, danced upon, and tossed in a blanket by nearly
every newspaper and magazine in the English-speaking world.
Every scribbler, almost, has had his little fling at it, at one time
or another; I had mine fifteen years ago. The book gets out of print,
every now and then, and one ceases to hear of it for a season;
but presently the nations and near and far colonies of our tongue
and lineage call for it once more, and once more it issues from some
London or Continental or American press, and runs a new course around
the globe, wafted on its way by the wind of a world’s laughter.
Many persons have believed that this book’s miraculous stupidities
were studied and disingenuous; but no one can read the volume
carefully through and keep that opinion. It was written in
serious good faith and deep earnestness, by an honest and upright
idiot who believed he knew something of the English language,
and could impart his knowledge to others. The amplest proof
of this crops out somewhere or other upon each and every page.
There are sentences in the book which could have been manufactured
by a man in his right mind, and with an intelligent and deliberate
purposes to seem innocently ignorant; but there are other sentences,
and paragraphs, which no mere pretended ignorance could ever achieve–
nor yet even the most genuine and comprehensive ignorance,
when unbacked by inspiration.
It is not a fraud who speaks in the following paragraph of the
author’s Preface, but a good man, an honest man, a man whose conscience
is at rest, a man who believes he has done a high and worthy work for
his nation and his generation, and is well pleased with his performance:
We expect then, who the little book (for the care what we wrote him,
and for her typographical correction) that may be worth the
acceptation of the studious persons, and especially of the Youth,
at which we dedicate him particularly.
One cannot open this book anywhere and not find richness.
To prove that this is true, I will open it at random and copy
the page I happen to stumble upon. Here is the result:
For To See the Town
Anothony, go to accompany they gentilsmen, do they see the town.
We won’t to see all that is it remarquable here.
Come with me, if you please. I shall not folget nothing what can
to merit your attention. Here we are near to cathedral; will you
come in there?
We will first to see him in oudside, after we shall go in there
for to look the interior.
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