Such convenience is not to be enjoyed — nor such liberty taken — with the living

From the letters of Laurence Sterne:

…Indeed I have no inclination to visit, or say a syllable to but a few persons in this lower vale of vanity and tears beside you: — But I often derive a peculiar satisfaction in conversing with the ancient and modern dead, —- who yet live and speak excellently in their works. — My neighbors think me often alone, — and yet at such times I am in company with more than five hundred mutes —- each of whom, at my pleasure, communicates his ideas to me by dumb signs — quite as intelligibly as any person living can do by uttering of words. — They always keep the distance from me which I direct —- and, with a motion of my hand, I can bring them as near to me as I please.  I lay hands on fifty of them sometimes in an evening, and handle them as I like — they never complain of ill-usage, — and when dismissed from my presence, — tho’ ever so abruptly —- take no offence.  Such convenience is not to be enjoyed — nor such liberty taken — with the living: —- We are bound —- in point of good manners to admit all our pretended friends when they knock for entrance, and dispense with all the nonsense or impertinence which they broach ’till they think proper to with-draw…

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