We were talking the other day of the many and interesting books of travel that have been written lately, books so full of valuable information and precise descriptions that you almost feel that Inner Africa and the North Pole are as familiar to you as Piccadilly and Oxford Street.
"It is a blessing that such books exist," said our host, who has rather a philosophical turn of mind. "Of course, I never read them; personally, I think that reading and writing are decidedly a mistake; but if I wanted to know anything about these countries there would not be the slightest necessity to travel about; other people have done that for me. To speak the truth, I do not want to know anything about foreign parts. One book of Stanley, for instance, is enough to make me hate the very idea of Inner Africa; and as to the North Pole, I cannot describe my feelings with regard to the raving lunatics who imagine they have anything to do there. I am all for a quiet life, you know. I stick to my principles—the summer in Cairo, the winter in bed."
This speech was received with icy coldness. We are not philosophically inclined, I am sorry to say, and though I should not much like Inner Africa on account of the heat, I have always cherished the idea of some day making a trip to the North Pole.