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“...who was always more taken up with the text than the sentiment...”

Washington Irving’s “The Christmas Dinner” is set in an ancient English manor house. A young college man has just finished reciting a Christmas carol to the dinner guests.

The parson, however, whose mind was not haunted by such associations, and who was always more taken up with the text than the sentiment, objected to the Oxonian’s version of the carol, which, he affirmed, was different that sung at college. He went on, with the dry perseverance of a commentator, to give the college reading, accompanied by sundry annotations; addressing himself at first to the company at large; but finding their attention gradually diverted to other talk and other objects, he lowered his tone as his number of auditors diminished, until he concluded his remarks in an under voice to a fat-headed old gentleman next him, who was silently engaged in the discussion of a huge plateful of turkey.

Such a wonderful scene. I can just picture the stuffy parson bloviating (probably with jowls flapping) to the guests, who listen politely at first but gradually drift off into more pleasant conversations until the parson, now subdued, finally shuts up.

December 25, 2020 in Books | Permalink