I have just finished Samuel Johnson's "A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland", a book I read with great gusto. The style is brilliant! I am not equipped to attempt any kind of elucidation on how it can be that such collected understatement can project such abject eccentricity, but thought at any rate that the following extract would be useful to share... "The Scots, with a vigilance of jealousy which never goes to sleep, always suspect that an Englishman despises them for their poverty, and that to convince him that they are not less rich than their neighbours, are sure to tell him a price higher than the true. When Lesley, two hundred years ago, related so punctiliously, that a hundred hen eggs, new laid, were sold in the islands for a peny, he supposed that no inference could possibly follow, but that eggs were in great abundance. Posterity has since grown wiser; and having learned, that nominal and real value may differ, they now tell no such stories, lest the foreigner should happen to collect, not that eggs are many, but that pence are few."
I'm sorry, but that is just a riot!
Apologies also, to a highly tolerant group of air passengers who recently put up with my transatlantic guffawing, the source of which is now revealed...