Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nancy Pembroke's Vacation in Canada

"Let's go shopping this morning," proposed Nancy at the breakfast table. "Shopping?" said Jeanette in surprise. "I didn't know you meant to buy anything. What do you need?" "Oh, I need heaps of things, but I'm not going to get them. Shopping doesn't necessarily mean buying; I mean just go through the shops and be 'interested' in things." from Nancy Pembroke's Vacation in Canada, Margaret Van Epps, 1930 While I loved the above quote, it was one of few high points in this book. Because Nancy was an unappealing heroine, whiny and selfish, this was a very tedious book except for some unusual and intriguing sightseeing expeditions (which kept me reading, although I put it aside several times over the last few months). It was very interesting, however, that the author spent a lot of time - in the voice of Miss Ashton, the family friend Nancy and Jeanette are traveling with - describing Catholic traditions with great respect and in more detail than is typical in this type of series. Miss Ashton, "[a] Protestant herself, at least in that she was not a Catholic, she belonged to no particular church; but she respected the religious beliefs and customs of all with whom she came into contact, and was interested in knowing something about them. "I don't know, of course," she continued, "what your feelings are toward different religious beliefs, or toward customs which are strange to you; but I do want to give you a bit of advice. Don't be so narrow-minded and willfully ignorant that you condemn everything you do not practice yourself. Read, study, observe, converse calmly with all kinds of people. Understand, intelligently if not thoroughly, everything in the world that you possibly can. Get the true explanation of all kinds of things, not the false, superficial notions most people are satisfied with. Don't be afraid of information, or lazily indifferent about acquiring it. You don't need to adopt every idea or belief; but at least know them. There is no real education possible otherwise."

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