It was on this ground that he was severe with Tom about his lessons; he was clearly a boy whose powers would never be developed through the medium of the Latin grammar, without the application of some sternness.
Tom Tulliver, being abundant in no form of speech, did not use any metaphor to declare his views as to the nature of Latin; he never called it an instrument of torture; and it was not until he had got on some way in the next half-year, and in the Delectus, that he was advanced enough to call it a "bore" and "beastly stuff." At present, in relation to this demand that he should learn Latin declensions and conjugations, Tom was in a state of as blank unimaginativeness concerning the cause and tendency of his sufferings, as if he had been an innocent shrewmouse imprisoned in the split trunk of an ash-tree in order to cure lameness in cattle.
"I was saying that I hoped you wouldn't be fool enough to tackle Latin."
They let us find it out for ourselves afterwards." Olney paused for effect, then added, "And what they didn't tell us was that every gentleman should have studied Latin, but that no gentleman should know Latin."
This did not, however, at that time discover itself, but lay lurking in her mind, like a concealed enemy, who waits for a reinforcement of additional strength before he openly declares himself and proceeds upon hostile operations: and such additional strength soon arrived to corroborate her suspicion; for not long after, the husband and wife being at dinner, the master said to his maid, Da mihi aliquid potum: upon which the poor girl smiled, perhaps at the badness of the Latin, and, when her mistress cast her eyes on her, blushed, possibly with a consciousness of having laughed at her master.
He therefore had recourse to his usual receipt of patience, for, though he was not a great adept in Latin, he remembered, and well understood, the advice contained in these words
"I like Latin
, and used to get on well when I studied it with Jimmy.
There were huge, ponderous folios, and quartos, and little duodecimos, in English, Latin
, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldaic, and all other languages that either originated at the confusion of Babel or have since come into use.
Lorenzo Valla, one of the most famous promoters of Italian learning, not only translated into Latin
the Iliad of Homer and the Histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, but also the Fables of Aesop.
Again, he would sit until nearly midnight, talking about Latin
and English poetry, or telling me about his long stay in Italy.
"Eheu!" sighed the broken-hearted Gringoire, " bassa latinitas --bastard latin
Literature really means letters, for it comes from a Latin
word littera, meaning a letter of the alphabet.