THE ONE THING NEEDFUL
'NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing
but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else,
and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of
reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any
service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own
children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these
children. Stick to Facts, sir!'
The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous vault of a school-room, and
the speaker's square forefinger emphasized his observations by
underscoring every sentence with a line on the schoolmaster's
sleeve. The emphasis was helped by the speaker's square wall of a
forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base, while his eyes found
commodious cellarage in two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall.
The emphasis was helped by the speaker's mouth, which was wide,
thin, and hard set. The emphasis was helped by the speaker's
voice, which was inflexible, dry, and dictatorial. The emphasis
was helped by the speaker's hair, which bristled on the skirts of
his bald head, a plantation of firs to keep the wind from its
shining surface, all covered with knobs, like the crust of a plum
pie, as if the head had scarcely warehouse-room for the hard facts
stored inside. The speaker's obstinate carriage, square coat,
square legs, square shoulders, - nay, his very neckcloth, trained
to take him by the throat with an unaccommodating grasp, like a
stubborn fact, as it was, - all helped the emphasis.
'In this life, we want nothing but Facts, sir; nothing but Facts!'
The speaker, and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person
present, all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the
inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order,
ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they
were full to the brim.