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    Wednesdays with Words

    September 18, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    “Whereas I hold,” shouted the other, “with my revered preceptor, doctor preclarus et excellentissimus, that all things are but thought; for when thought is gone I prythee where are the things then? Here are trees about us, and I see them because I think I see them, but if I have swooned, or sleep, or am in wine, then, my thought having gone forth from me, lo the trees go forth also. How now, coz, have I touched thee on the raw?”

    The White Company
    by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Alleyne sat between them munching his bread, while the twain disputed across his knees, leaning forward with flushed faces and darting hands, in all the heat of argument. Never had he heard such jargon of scholastic philosophy, such fine-drawn distinctions, such cross-fire of major and minor, proposition, syllogism, attack and refutation. Question clattered upon answer like a sword on a buckler. The ancients, the fathers of the Church, the moderns, the Scriptures, the Arabians, were each sent hurtling against the other, while the rain still dripped and the dark holly-leaves glistened with the moisture. At last the fat man seemed to weary of it, for he set to work quietly upon his meal, while his opponent, as proud as the rooster who is left unchallenged upon the midden, crowed away in a last long burst of quotation and deduction. Suddenly, however, his eyes dropped upon his food, and he gave a howl of dismay.

    “You double thief!” he cried, “you have eaten my herrings, and I without bite or sup since morning.”

    “That,” quoth the other complacently, “was my final argument, my crowning effort, or peroratio, as the orators have it. For, coz, since all thoughts are things, you have but to think a pair of herrings, and then conjure up a pottle of milk wherewith to wash them down.”

    How to argue without words.

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    10 Comments

  • Reply Cindy Rollins September 20, 2013 at 1:51 am

    I have recommended The White Company so often that I started to worry that maybe it was one of those books that I like but others find tedious. I am so happy to hear that at least two of you did not find it boring.

  • Reply Mystie September 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Well….I was going to pick G.K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man instead before your post. It’s a tough call.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      That *is* a tough call! For a road trip, though, I would probably do White Company. Just my personal preference…

  • Reply Anna Ilona Mussmann September 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I love this! I always assumed that this book would be boring, but clearly it’s not.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      I think I sort of expected that, also, though I’m not sure why. But it truly has been unexpectedly delightful!

  • Reply Mystie September 19, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Love it! I have this on audio and was debating between it and another for our next road trip. You tipped the scales. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 19, 2013 at 5:02 am

      You’re not going to tell us your other option??? GASP!

      I *must* know. 😉

  • Reply Brandy Vencel September 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    This is my first time reading it and I’m really enjoying it. I don’t remember Sir Nigel being funny, but this book has me laughing a lot.

  • Reply Kelly September 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I loved this book. Going to have to read it again some day.

  • Reply Cindy Rollins September 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Well this makes me happy!

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