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Chapter VII The Villa Quarters

Chapter VII
The Villa1 Quarters

Mr. Ruskin’s denunciation of the New Town of Edinburgh includes, as I have heard it repeated, nearly all the stone and lime we have to show. Many however find a grand air and something settled and imposing2 in the better parts; and upon many, as I have said, the confusion of styles induces an agreeable stimulation3 of the mind. But upon the subject of our recent villa architecture, I am frankly4 ready to mingle5 my tears with Mr. Ruskin’s, and it is a subject which makes one envious6 of his large declamatory and controversial eloquence7.

Day by day, one new villa, one new object of offence, is added to another; all around Newington and Morningside, the dismallest structures keep springing up like mushrooms; the pleasant hills are loaded with them, each impudently8 squatted9 in its garden, each roofed and carrying chimneys like a house. And yet a glance of an eye discovers their true character. They are not houses; for they were not designed with a view to human habitation, and the internal arrangements are, as they tell me, fantastically unsuited to the needs of man. They are not buildings; for you can scarcely say a thing is built where every measurement is in clamant disproportion with its neighbour. They belong to no style of art, only to a form of business much to be regretted.

Why should it be cheaper to erect10 a structure where the size of the windows bears no rational relation to the size of the front? Is there any profit in a misplaced chimney-stalk? Does a hard-working, greedy builder gain more on a monstrosity than on a decent cottage of equal plainness? Frankly, we should say, No. Bricks may be omitted, and green timber employed, in the construction of even a very elegant design; and there is no reason why a chimney should be made to vent11, because it is so situated12 as to look comely13 from without. On the other hand, there is a noble way of being ugly: a high-aspiring fiasco like the fall of Lucifer. There are daring and gaudy14 buildings that manage to be offensive, without being contemptible15; and we know that ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’ But to aim at making a common-place villa, and to make it insufferably ugly in each particular; to attempt the homeliest achievement, and to attain16 the bottom of derided17 failure; not to have any theory but profit and yet, at an equal expense, to outstrip18 all competitors in the art of conceiving and rendering19 permanent deformity; and to do all this in what is, by nature, one of the most agreeable neighbourhoods in Britain:— what are we to say, but that this also is a distinction, hard to earn although not greatly worshipful?

Indifferent buildings give pain to the sensitive; but these things offend the plainest taste. It is a danger which threatens the amenity20 of the town; and as this eruption21 keeps spreading on our borders, we have ever the farther to walk among unpleasant sights, before we gain the country air. If the population of Edinburgh were a living, autonomous22 body, it would arise like one man and make night hideous23 with arson24; the builders and their accomplices25 would be driven to work, like the Jews of yore, with the trowel in one hand and the defensive26 cutlass in the other; and as soon as one of these masonic wonders had been consummated27, right-minded iconoclasts28 should fall thereon and make an end of it at once.

Possibly these words may meet the eye of a builder or two. It is no use asking them to employ an architect; for that would be to touch them in a delicate quarter, and its use would largely depend on what architect they were minded to call in. But let them get any architect in the world to point out any reasonably well-proportioned villa, not his own design; and let them reproduce that model to satiety29.


1 villa xHayI     
  • We rented a villa in France for the summer holidays.我们在法国租了一幢别墅消夏。
  • We are quartered in a beautiful villa.我们住在一栋漂亮的别墅里。
2 imposing 8q9zcB     
  • The fortress is an imposing building.这座城堡是一座宏伟的建筑。
  • He has lost his imposing appearance.他已失去堂堂仪表。
3 stimulation BuIwL     
  • The playgroup provides plenty of stimulation for the children.幼儿游戏组给孩子很多启发。
  • You don't get any intellectual stimulation in this job.你不能从这份工作中获得任何智力启发。
4 frankly fsXzcf     
  • To speak frankly, I don't like the idea at all.老实说,我一点也不赞成这个主意。
  • Frankly speaking, I'm not opposed to reform.坦率地说,我不反对改革。
5 mingle 3Dvx8     
  • If we mingle with the crowd,we should not be noticed.如果我们混在人群中,就不会被注意到。
  • Oil will not mingle with water.油和水不相融。
6 envious n8SyX     
  • I don't think I'm envious of your success.我想我并不嫉妒你的成功。
  • She is envious of Jane's good looks and covetous of her car.她既忌妒简的美貌又垂涎她的汽车。
7 eloquence 6mVyM     
  • I am afraid my eloquence did not avail against the facts.恐怕我的雄辩也无补于事实了。
  • The people were charmed by his eloquence.人们被他的口才迷住了。
8 impudently 98a9b79b8348326c8a99a7e4043464ca     
  • She was his favorite and could speak to him so impudently. 她是他的宠儿,可以那样无礼他说话。 来自教父部分
  • He walked into the shop and calmly (ie impudently and self-confidently) stole a pair of gloves. 他走进商店若无其事地偷了一副手套。 来自辞典例句
9 squatted 45deb990f8c5186c854d710c535327b0     
v.像动物一样蹲下( squat的过去式和过去分词 );非法擅自占用(土地或房屋);为获得其所有权;而占用某片公共用地。
  • He squatted down beside the footprints and examined them closely. 他蹲在脚印旁仔细地观察。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He squatted in the grass discussing with someone. 他蹲在草地上与一个人谈话。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 erect 4iLzm     
  • She held her head erect and her back straight.她昂着头,把背挺得笔直。
  • Soldiers are trained to stand erect.士兵们训练站得笔直。
11 vent yiPwE     
  • He gave vent to his anger by swearing loudly.他高声咒骂以发泄他的愤怒。
  • When the vent became plugged,the engine would stop.当通风口被堵塞时,发动机就会停转。
12 situated JiYzBH     
  • The village is situated at the margin of a forest.村子位于森林的边缘。
  • She is awkwardly situated.她的处境困难。
13 comely GWeyX     
  • His wife is a comely young woman.他的妻子是一个美丽的少妇。
  • A nervous,comely-dressed little girl stepped out.一个紧张不安、衣着漂亮的小姑娘站了出来。
14 gaudy QfmzN     
  • She was tricked out in gaudy dress.她穿得华丽而俗气。
  • The gaudy butterfly is sure that the flowers owe thanks to him.浮华的蝴蝶却相信花是应该向它道谢的。
15 contemptible DpRzO     
  • His personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.他气貌不扬,言语粗俗。
  • That was a contemptible trick to play on a friend.那是对朋友玩弄的一出可鄙的把戏。
16 attain HvYzX     
  • I used the scientific method to attain this end. 我用科学的方法来达到这一目的。
  • His painstaking to attain his goal in life is praiseworthy. 他为实现人生目标所下的苦功是值得称赞的。
17 derided 1f15d33e96bce4cf40473b17affb79b6     
v.取笑,嘲笑( deride的过去式和过去分词 )
  • His views were derided as old-fashioned. 他的观点被当作旧思想受到嘲弄。
  • Gazing up to the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity. 我抬头疑视着黑暗,感到自己是一个被虚荣心驱使和拨弄的可怜虫。 来自辞典例句
18 outstrip MJ6xM     
  • He can outstrip his friend both in sports and in studies.他能在体育和学习方面胜过他的朋友。
  • It is possible for us to outstrip the advanced countries in the world.我们能超过世界上先进的国家。
19 rendering oV5xD     
  • She gave a splendid rendering of Beethoven's piano sonata.她精彩地演奏了贝多芬的钢琴奏鸣曲。
  • His narrative is a super rendering of dialect speech and idiom.他的叙述是方言和土语最成功的运用。
20 amenity wLuy2     
  • The amenity of his manners won him many friends.他和悦的态度替他赢得很多朋友。
  • Teachers' good amenity and culture have important educational value.教师良好的礼仪修养具有重要的教育价值。
21 eruption UomxV     
  • The temple was destroyed in the violent eruption of 1470 BC.庙宇在公元前1470年猛烈的火山爆发中摧毁了。
  • The eruption of a volcano is spontaneous.火山的爆发是自发的。
22 autonomous DPyyv     
  • They proudly declared themselves part of a new autonomous province.他们自豪地宣布成为新自治省的一部分。
  • This is a matter that comes within the jurisdiction of the autonomous region.这件事是属于自治区权限以内的事务。
23 hideous 65KyC     
  • The whole experience had been like some hideous nightmare.整个经历就像一场可怕的噩梦。
  • They're not like dogs,they're hideous brutes.它们不像狗,是丑陋的畜牲。
24 arson 3vOz3     
  • He was serving a ten spot for arson.他因纵火罪在服十年徒刑。
  • He was arraigned on a charge of arson.他因被指控犯纵火罪而被传讯。
25 accomplices d2d44186ab38e4c55857a53f3f536458     
从犯,帮凶,同谋( accomplice的名词复数 )
  • He was given away by one of his accomplices. 他被一个同伙出卖了。
  • The chief criminals shall be punished without fail, those who are accomplices under duress shall go unpunished and those who perform deeds of merIt'shall be rewarded. 首恶必办, 胁从不问,立功受奖。
26 defensive buszxy     
  • Their questions about the money put her on the defensive.他们问到钱的问题,使她警觉起来。
  • The Government hastily organized defensive measures against the raids.政府急忙布置了防卫措施抵御空袭。
27 consummated consummated     
v.使结束( consummate的过去式和过去分词 );使完美;完婚;(婚礼后的)圆房
  • The marriage lasted only a week and was never consummated. 那段婚姻仅维持了一星期,期间从未同房。
  • We consummated an agreement after a year of negotiation. 经过一年的谈判,我们达成了协议。 来自《简明英汉词典》
28 iconoclasts 0b0f600c46d50e79a1845f9e4286cf13     
n.攻击传统观念的人( iconoclast的名词复数 );反对崇拜圣像者
  • Holistic medicine, organic farming or performance art are the sorts of fields these iconoclasts enjoy. 整体医疗、有机农业和艺术表演就是爱打破常规的水瓶座人喜欢的行业。 来自互联网
29 satiety hY5xP     
  • There is no satiety in study.学无止境。
  • Their presence in foods induces satiety at meal time.它们在食物中的存在诱导进餐时的满足感。


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