Time Past

Dalrymple has a second, more biographical and very beautiful, essay at the New English Review this month, in which he uses two anecdotes from his past to ponder the morality of little white lies:

From time to time, for reasons that I cannot explain, an episode returns to me from when I was almost sixteen. I was hitch-hiking in Scotland with a French friend; it now seems almost incredible that two boys of such an age should have been allowed by their parents to fend for themselves in this fashion, when communications were so much more difficult. We had a tent, and camped by the side of the road wherever we were when night fell. It wasn’t comfortable – tents in those days were not the suburban home from home that they are now – and many a time the rain leaked through the canvas because we had touched it on the inside, which meant that we lived in a state of chronic dampness. We thought nothing of it…

Read the rest here

9 thoughts on “Time Past

  1. Clinton

    Jonathan, if you scroll down on the main blog page, you will see “As A Matter of Interest” there. Thanks for your help keeping us up-to-date, though. We literally couldn’t find all these without the help of you and a couple of others.

  2. Kevin

    I wonder if Dalrymple would extend this to his opinions on God. It seems to me that, although an atheist (or at least an agnostic), Dalrymple is not evangelical in his unbelief, and is sometimes critical of those who are. Maybe he equares others’ belief to the woman’s belief that the sheep was dead, as something comforting and not to be disturbed.

  3. Clinton

    That’s an astute and, I think, correct observation. He thinks religion provides many people transcendental meaning and a reason to go on living that they wouldn’t otherwise have. I’m of similar mind as Dalrymple on religion, and I personally have no desire to convince others to join me in my unbelief.

  4. Rielouise

    He’s written about Catholic nuns on a number of occasions:

    ‘Over the years, my attitude to religion has changed, without my having recovered any kind of belief in God. The best and most devoted people I have ever met were Catholic nuns.’


    I attended Catholic schools. A few of my classes were taught by nuns. They were exceptionally dedicated, more so, I would imagine that teachers who had certain ‘distractions’ to concern themselves with.


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