His slim figure had now acquired
strength and grace, and had increased in stature to the medium height.
The sum of his discourse was to this effect: "That about forty years ago, certain persons went up to Laputa, either upon business or diversion, and, after five months continuance, came back with a very little smattering in mathematics, but full of volatile spirits acquired
in that airy region: that these persons, upon their return, began to dislike the management of every thing below, and fell into schemes of putting all arts, sciences, languages, and mechanics, upon a new foot.
Thus, in my own case, I am persuaded that if I had been taught from my youth all the truths of which I have since sought out demonstrations, and had thus learned them without labour, I should never, perhaps, have known any beyond these; at least, I should never have acquired
the habit and the facility which I think I possess in always discovering new truths in proportion as I give myself to the search.
If the exclusion were to be perpetual, a man of irregular ambition, of whom alone there could be reason in any case to entertain apprehension, would, with infinite reluctance, yield to the necessity of taking his leave forever of a post in which his passion for power and pre-eminence had acquired
the force of habit.
Some portion of this knowledge may, no doubt, be acquired
in a man's closet; but some of it also can only be derived from the public sources of information; and all of it will be acquired
to best effect by a practical attention to the subject during the period of actual service in the legislature.
Moreover, from being so long in twilight or darkness, his eyes had acquired
the faculty of distinguishing objects in the night, common to the hyena and the wolf.
Such dominions thus acquired
are either accustomed to live under a prince, or to live in freedom; and are acquired
either by the arms of the prince himself, or of others, or else by fortune or by ability.
It is but justice to this gallant chief to say that he gave proofs of having acquired
some of the lights of civilization from his proximity to the whites, as was evinced in his knowledge of driving a bargain.
He certainly was to blame occasionally for the asperity of his manners, and the arbitrary nature of his measures, yet much that is exceptionable in this part of his conduct may be traced to rigid notions of duty acquired
in that tyrannical school, a ship of war, and to the construction given by his companions to the orders of Mr.
Yet on the other hand' - he loosed his rosary -'I have acquired
merit by saving two lives - the lives of those that wronged me.
It seemed to me that I should feel ashamed to have spent two months in Paris, and not to have acquired
more insight into the language.
He must have acquired
experiences which would form abundant material for a picaresque novel of modern Paris, but he remained aloof, and judging from his conversation there was nothing in those years that had made a particular impression on him.