Monday, July 09, 2012

A folded paper

Middlemarch, book 4:
Who shall tell what may be the effect of writing?  If it happens to have been cut in stone, though it lie face downmost for ages on a forsaken beach, or 'rest quietly under the drums and tramplings of many conquests', it may end by letting us into the secret of usurpations and other scandals gossiped about long empires ago: - this world being apparently a huge whispering-gallery.  Such conditions are often minutely represented in our petty lifetime.  As the stone which has been kicked by generations of clowns may come by curious little links of effect under the eyes of a scholar, through whose labours it may at last fix the date of invasions and unlock religions, so a bit of ink and paper which has long been an innocent wrapping or stop-gap may at last be laid open under the one pair of eyes which have knowledge enough to turn it into the opening of a catastrophe.  To Uriel watching the progress of planetary history from the Sun, the one result would be just as much of a coincidence as the other.

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