Page:Writings of Henry David Thoreau (1906) v2.djvu/146

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

the advantages which the Nineteenth Century offers ? Why should our life be in any respect provincial ? If we will read newspapers, why not skip the gossip of Boston and take the best newspaper in the world at once ? — not be sucking the pap of " neutral family " papers, or brows- ing " Olive-Branches " here in New England. Let the reports of all the learned societies come to us, and we will see if they know anything. Why should we leave it to Harper & Brothers and Redding & Co. to select our reading ? As the nobleman of cultivated taste sur- rounds himself with whatever conduces to his culture, — genius — learning — wit — books — paintings — stat- uary — music — philosophical instruments, and the like; so let the village do, — not stop short at a pedagogue, a parson, a sexton, a parish library, and three select- men, because our Pilgrim forefathers got through a cold winter once on a bleak rock with these. To act col- lectively is according to the spirit of our institutions; and I am confident that, as our circumstances are more flourishing, our means are greater than the nobleman's. New England can hire all the wise men in the world to come and teach her, and board them round the while, and not be provincial at all. That is the uncommon school we want. Instead of noblemen, let us have noble villages of men. If it is necessary, omit one bridge over the river, go round a little there, and throw one arch at least over the darker gulf of ignorance which sur- rounds us.