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October 29, 2008

the paraphrase

"In brief, Joe thought that if I thought well of it, he thought well of it. But, he was particular in stipulating that if I were not received with cordiality, or if I were not encouraged to repeat my visit as a visit which had no ulterior object but was simply one of gratitude for a favour received, then this experimental trip should have no successor. By these conditions I promised to abide."

-a passage from chapter 15 of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

my 21st century paraphrase of this passage:

"Joe thought it would be okay if it sounded okay to me. Yet if my visit was not welcomed or she told me to go away because there was no reason to visit, I should obviously not make a second trip. He made me promise to follow his advice."

How dumb we sound these days! Such short words, such non avant-garde thinking we do. I wonder what it would have been like to think like Charles Dickens thought; to write like he wrote. He certainly didn't fake it because his writing style remains similar through his several books. It is astounding how much a language and culture can, and will, change in a mere one hundred (or so) years.

How I wish I could live at least one day in the life of Charles Dickens.

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