This is Bartle Massey, he of the blade-sharp tongue, laying into the so-called students who come to him for learning.
‘You go whistling about, and take no more care what you’re thinking of than if your heads were gutters for any rubbish to swill through what happened to be in the way.’
See also his thoughts on the value of going to college, equally tenderly expressed.
Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 282
Photo credit: knavilio at pixabay.com