My father used to say,
"Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow's grave
or the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self-reliant like the cat—
that takes its prey to privacy,
the mouse's limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth—
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint."
Nor was he insincere in saying, "Make my house your inn."
Inns are not residences.
This has been a favorite of mine since middle school—I guess it reminded me of my father. It strangely reminds me of my husband, although I wish he would show me Longfellow's grave and the glass flowers at Harvard this summer. I should very much enjoy the novelty, and we'll be out there anyway.
I laugh at that term, "superior people". It sounds like such an archaic notion, something from the early part of this century. But it's descriptive and sets a tone of reverence, formality, distance.
Anyway, I don't consider myself superior, but I'm very curious about the glass flowers at Harvard, having blown glass at one time. Historical background on this astonishing creative achievement can be found here.