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In Bleak House Charles Dickens introduces one of his most amazing characters, Harold Skimpole, whose philosophy of cheerful irresponsibility is depicted charmingly near the beginning of Chapter 8 ("Covering a Multitude of Sins"):

Mr. Skimpole was as agreeable at breakfast, as he had been overnight. There was honey on the table, and it led him into a discourse about bees. He had no objection to honey, he said (and I should think he had not, for he seemed to like it), but he protested against the overweening assumptions of bees. He didn't at all see why the busy bee should be proposed as a model to him; he supposed the Bee liked to make honey, or he wouldn't do it — nobody asked him. It was not necessary for the bee to make such a merit of his tastes. If every confectioner went buzzing about the world, banging against everything that came in his way, and egotistically calling upon everybody to take notice that he was going to his work and must not be interrupted, the world would be quite an unsupportable place. Then, after all, it was a ridiculous position, to be smoked out of your fortune with brimstone, as soon as you had made it. You would have a very mean opinion of a Manchester man, if he spun cotton for no other purpose. He must say he thought a Drone the embodiment of a pleasanter and wiser idea. The Drone said, unaffectedly, "You will excuse me; I really cannot attend to the shop! I find myself in a world in which there is so much to see, and so short a time to see it in, that I must take the liberty of looking about me, and begging to be provided for by somebody who doesn't want to look about him." This appeared to Mr Skimpole to be the Drone philosophy, and he thought it a very good philosophy — always supposing the Drone to be willing to be on good terms with the Bee: which, so far as he knew, the easy fellow always was, if the consequential creature would only let him, and not be so conceited about his honey!

Shades of Bertie Wooster and the Drones Club!

(cf. CodeOfTheWoosters (14 Oct 2005), ...)

TopicLiterature - Datetag20070722

(correlates: EmersonOnRace, CodeOfTheWoosters, SouthernCross, ...)