from all such perils; but it must be admitted, on the other hand, that when his brother collects a dozen pages of his ‘table-talk’ at the end of his memoirs, or when one reads his own list of them in ‘Kavanagh
,’ the reader feels a slight inadequacy, as of things good enough to be said, but not quite worth the printing.
Yet at their best, they are sometimes pungent and telling, as where he says, ‘When looking for anything lost, begin by looking where you think it is not;’ or, ‘Silence is a great peace-maker;’ or, ‘In youth all doors open outward; in old age they all open inward,’ or, more thoughtfully, ‘Amusements are like specie payments.
We do not much care for them, if we know we can have them; but we like to know they may be had,’ or more profoundly still, ‘How often it happens that after we know a man personally, we cease to read his writings.
Is it that we exhaust him by a look?
Is it that his personality gives us all of him we desire?’
There are also included among these passages some thoroughly poetic touches, as where he says, ‘The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout, and hands full of flowers.’
Or this, ‘How sudden and sweet are the visitations of our happiest thoughts; what delightful surprises!
In the midst of life's most trivial ’