“The prevailing taste of the public for anecdote has been censured and ridiculed by critics, who aspire to the character of superior wisdom: but if we consider it in a proper point of view, this taste is an incontestible proof of the good sense and profoundly philosophic temper of the present times. Of the numbers who study, or at least who read history, how few derive any advantage from their labours!”
Uncle Murphy was friends with all of the finest Citizens of the Garden. He was a Regular Member of the Ladybugs’ Home Economics Association and an Honorary Fellow of the Fraternal Order of Old Grasshoppers. He was frequently overheard discussing in detail the current events of Europe in all of the most important salons or enjoying Rosebud Tea in the trendiest cafés. He was even known to enjoy the company of the geckos and the skinks, and even the neighborhood field mice, who are known to put on airs.
Upon hearing an impressive speaker, Uncle Murphy would not hesitate to inquire of the distinguished gentleman if his degree — and, in point of fact, his vocation; nay, his avocation — lay in history or in literature, as these were the only worthwhile pursuits of the modern antiquarian; philosophy and mathematics (and least as far as is useful) could simply be presupposed; neither was a worthwhile primary pursuit. But history and literature! These were the primary pursuits of a gentleman gnome. Few things in the world are certain; one absolute: Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.