Tag Archives: Jerome Klapka Jerome

The chick or the eagle?


Without ambitious people the world would never get up. They are busybodies who are about early in the morning, hammering, shouting, and rattling the fire-irons, and rendering it generally impossible for the rest of the house to remain in bed.

Idle Thoughts From an Idle Fellow, Jerome Klapka Jerome

I love this quote because it is really true. Usually I am content simply to admire the ambitious people in my life. But every once in awhile, they go and light a fire under my boiler and compel me to go and do something, that I wouldn’t have been inclined to do otherwise; and generally I am very glad that they did.

One of the saints who seems to me to typify this spirit of ambition is St. Josemaria Escriva. However, sometimes his “Way” seems to be in conflict with the “Little Way” of another saint I admire, St. Therese of Lisieux.

Some time back, after thinking about this for some days, I accosted Michael at his computer.

     “Which is it supposed to be, then?” I asked. “Am I supposed to rest like a child in the arms of my loving Father, or am I supposed to soar like an eagle rather than flap like a barnyard fowl?”

     “Well,” he said mildly, looking up. “It’s both. You know that.”

Bless them – my husband and the Church, and their hard sayings and paradoxes.

This Lent I plan to read The Way, The Furrow, and The Forge and Story of a Soul back to back, and see if I get any light on the subject.

The lady and her knight

Check out the painting, God Speed! by Edmund Leighton, which is much more worth looking at than this haphazard sketch of it.

Check out the painting, God Speed! by Edmund Leighton – it is much more satisfying to look at than this haphazard sketch of it!

The following are excerpts from Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, by Jerome Klapka Jerome, 1886.

When a twelfth-century youth fell in love he did not take three paces backward, gaze into her eyes, and tell her she was too beautiful to live. He said he would step outside and see about it. And if, when he went out, he met a man and broke his head — the other man’s head I mean — then that proved that his — the first fellow’s —  girl was a pretty girl. But if the other fellow broke his head — not his own, you know, but the other fellow’s… Look here, if A broke B’s head, then A’s girl was a pretty girl; but if B broke A’s head, then A’s girl wasn’t a pretty girl, but B’s girl was. That was their method of conducting art criticism.

Nowadays we light a pipe and let the girls fight it out amongst themselves.

…[Women] have more power for good or evil than they dream of… Chivalry is not dead; it only sleeps for want of work to do. It is you who must wake it to noble deeds. You must be worthy of knightly worship… Oh ladies fair, be fair in mind and soul as well as face, so that brave knights may win glory in your service!

…Ah, those foolish days of noble longings and noble strivings! And oh, these wise clever days  when we know that money is the only prize worth striving for, when we believe in nothing else but meanness and lies, when we care for no living creature but ourselves!