"When they're offered to tho world in merry guise,
Unpleasant truths are swallowed with a will;
For ho who'd make his fellow-creatures wise
Should always gild tho philosophic pill."
W. S. Gilbert, Bab Ballads.
The following pages constitute an attempt to disprove an almost universal fallacy that, in the Art of Innkeeping, there is no other mentor than experience.
But experience founded on ignorance of what we have to learn reminds us of the countryman who looked for his ass while he was mounted on its back.
For, indeed, there is so much to digest that, unless we direct our efforts aright, a lifetime is insufficient to enable us to avoid missing our opportunities.
The need for knowledge and learning is obvious to the Public, if unacknowledged by the Trade, but tho exposition is another matter. And when one attempts to appeal to the Brewer, the Licensee, and the Tyro, all at the same time, one is tempted to cry in distress, with Mrs. Malaprop, "You are not like Cerberus, three gentlemen at once, are you?"
Hence, to quote again from tho inimitable phrases of that estimable lady, if you find my opinions "as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile," and if you fail to find my work "A progeny of learning," make it "the excuse for a glass," for you may find it as dry as dust.
"Here's a health to every friend
Who can struggle to tho end."