“You can toast muffins at it”

Go to the man who likes gas-stoves (if such a man there be) and ask him what he thinks a fire is for. If he thinks that a fire is for the sake of heat, dismiss him with derision to his doom. He will have heat enough if his spiritual ruin is at all parallel to his intellectual. Every sound human institution has at least four different objects and different justifications. Man was never so silly as to sit down on a one-legged stool. All his supports are quadrupedal. A man’s fireside, the open fire on his hearth, is delightful for all kinds of different reasons. It does, among other things, heat the room; but it also lights the room. It looks beautiful. You can roast chestnuts at it. You can see pictures in it. You can toast muffins at it. If you happen (as is no doubt the case) to be a Parsee, you can worship it. You can, with dexterity, light your pipe at it; you can tell ghost-stories round it, with Rembrandtesque effects. If a man gives me heat instead of a fire, I am no more satisfied than if he gives me little red pictures instead of a fire, because I can see them in the coals. I want a fire; not one of the uses of a fire.

Illustrated London News, 11 April 1908.
Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 1:28 pm  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://chesterton.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/you-can-toast-muffins-at-it/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. “I know I’m of an older fashion. Much that I love has been destroyed or sent into exile.”

    And I agree.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: