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Dark Are The Lovely Pleiades

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(Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry)

Storm and destruction shattering
Strike fear upon the world,
The winds are out, and through high heaven
Their Bacchanals are hurled.
Their league is broken, burst the girth
And launched their fury on the earth.

Torrent on torrent falls the rain,
Dark are the lovely Pleiades,
Their seven lamps are out, and dark
The Houses where abide the stars.
And Sirius shines no more at all,
And heaven is hung with blackest pall.

Yet through the summits of the sky
Flashes afar the livid levin,
And cataracts of pallid fire
Pour from the toppling crests of heaven.
Struggling with clouds the mountains stand,
The dark sea masses on the strand
Following wave on wave behind
The rush and ruin of the wind.

Along the pathways of the sea
The salt waves rise in foam.
The deep is boiling like a pot,
Dark water seething furiously,
And Ocean with his might of war
And thunder of his waves afar,
Storming the headlands, shock on shock,
And shouting victory.

Scholar of Malmesbury : To Aldhelm [ translated by Helen Waddell ]

 
North Sea Eagles

Michael Mathias Kiefer --- Nordisches Meer

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To Say Hello

Spice and Wolf is a pleasant contrast to the run of anime, being set in a semi-mediaeval mittel-european world --- think from Northern Italy going northwards, eg: the old Reich --- although the mercantile element* leaves me a trifle cold; yet what more excellent girlfriend could the heart desire than a redhead who is in her spare time a wolf-goddess ?

From here, someone has transcribed the lyrics to the English sung end-song ( ED --- opening songs are OPs )

The pronunciation of this ED is realy terriable. This is what I tried my best find out from the ED:
Seven apples on the witch’s tree
Seven seeds to plant inside of me
In spring time I grew a magic song
Thus keeping along
I sang the song to everyone
I looked up the world through apple eyes
And cut myself as slice of sunshine pie
I dance with the peanuts for the flies
Hear time when the town ring
To say hello forever goodbye
Songs and sugar’s ball
I’ll put them in the jar
And the wish around the world
All wish around the world
I’m a little lucida girl
You say: I’m off I’ve grown from June to May
Oh wish around the world
Makes wish around the world

Instead of any obligatory remark on Japanese ultra-weirdness, I'd prefer to offer that this is either a/ spirited satire on the average lyric-writer, or b/ some profound meanings are non-apparent to the cursory reader, but which reveal unearthly insights to anyone who has combined the right drugs; maybe a winsome combination of lsd and crack.

 
Spice and Wolf

 
Spice and Wolf

 
Spice and Wolf

 
Spice and Wolf

 

Spice and Wolf

 
Spice and Wolf

 

Spice and Wolf

 
The 11 episodes of Spice and Wolf numbered 1 - 12 ( 7 is unavailable ) can be found here for now. Select the English Subtitled ones for greater clarity.

I have to say that Horo's brilliant tail looks rather more like a fox to me, as do the ears: possibly something to do with the longstanding love-affair betwixt Japan and Fox-Fairies long predating anime, or manga, or furries.

*This thread has some details; and includes a fine youtube of Bird and Fortune ripping apart the pretensions of the Masters of the Universes responsible for the sub-prime latest debacle.

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For Love Of Marie-Jeanne

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at 3:30 am
faq
(Literature, Other Writ, Royalism, The King of Terrors, War)

Ivanov Seven is an excellent boys' book by Elizabeth Janeway, and regards a mid-19th century recruit into the Russian army who is fortunate enough to return home to the hills with a charming little howitzer named Katya for his very own > which is the sort of souvenir no-one could resist; particularly a Prussian ornate cannon that is antique bronze inscribed:

Katya Gun

Anyway, during the royalist war in the Vendée against the brutish scum of the French Republic, there was another notable piece with a sweet name. She was a bit bigger, but just as lovable.

Really, the only engaging with life which makes the curious matter of existence endurable is to destroy republicans... And maybe, to collect cannon. Not only for that good purpose, but just because... I find myself unable to believe God created us in order that we might worship Him --- although He would have every right so to do if He so Chose ( that's the arbitrary and unfettered bit that is the essence of power; which we must try to mirror, howsoever unsuccessfully here on earth, at least for His equally arbitrarily Chosen lieutenants... ) --- and His reasons for creation must remain a mystery, but fighting on the right side each time consoles us at least during each such struggle.

 
The soldiers reassembled in large numbers, till, with Bonchamps' division, there were close on forty thousand, but destitute of powder; the army spent the night before La Châtaigneraie, which had been re-occupied by the Republicans. At daybreak the town was found to have been evacuated, all the Blues having fallen back on Fontenay. The Catholic Army marched forward without delay and towards noon reached Pissotte, three-quarters of a league from Fontenay; the Blues, to the number of ten thousand, with upwards of forty pieces of cannon, were drawn up in battle array before the town. The priests were asked to give the men absolution before the battle. "We have no powder, boys", the generals said to them; "Come on and recapture Marie-Jeanne with your cudgels, as you did at first. See who can run fastest, for we cannot stop to fire this time." M. de Lescure was in command of the left wing; his men showing a disposition to hang back, he was obliged to ride on alone forty paces ahead of them; then, pulling up, he called out "Vive le Roi !" He was instantly greeted with six rounds of grapeshot, for the enemy had aimed at him as though he was the bullseye on a target; by a veritable miracle he was not wounded, though his clothes were riddled, his left spur shot away, and also a large piece of his boot from the right calf. Turning round he called out to the men, "You see, boys, the Blues cannot shoot. On with you ! Forward !" The men, carried away with enthusiasm, rushed forward at such a pace that my husband had to break into a quick trot in order to keep at their head. Just then the peasants, catching sight of a mission cross, fell on their knees around it, though within range of the cannon. More than thirty balls passed over their heads. At that point there were only MM. de Lescure and de Baugé on horseback. The latter would have had my husband bid them go on. "No, let them finish their prayers first", he answered quietly. At length they sprang up and rushed upon the enemy. Meanwhile M. de Marigny fired off the few charges we had with good effect. M. de la Rochejaquelein had put himself at the head of the cavalry with MM. de Dommaigné and de Beaurepaire; they all displayed the utmost gallantry, while Henri distinguished himself by a judgment beyond his years. After repulsing the Repub­lican cavalry, instead of pursuing it, he fell upon the flank of the enemy's left wing, which till then had been maintaining the fight with some success, and by so doing placed the victory beyond a doubt. I wish I could give further details with regard to the circumstances of this battle, but I can only say what I know for certain.

The Blues, appalled by the desperate onslaught of the Vendeans, were completely routed in three quarters of an hour. The left wing, under the command of M. de Lescure, reached the gate of the town, and he himself was the first to enter, but his men, to begin with, had not the courage to follow him. MM. de Bonchamps and Forest, spying him from a distance, dashed forward to join him ; it was high time, for he was alone and in a very perilous situation. The three officers together were rash enough to penetrate into the town, though the streets were still crowded with over four thousand Blues, who, paralysed with terror, fell on their knees and began begging for quarter. When they had reached the square they separated and took three different streets, likewise thronged with armed volunteers, to whom they cried, "Surrender, down with your arms ! Vive le Roi ! We will do you no harm." Scarcely had he parted from M. de Lescure, however, than M. de Bonchamps was wounded. One of the soldiers, after laying down his musket and crying for quarter like the rest, picked it up again as soon as he had passed, and fired, shooting him through the arm and fleshy part of the breast and inflicting four wounds upon him : luckily our troops were just then crowding into the town in the wake of their generals. Bonchamps' men in their fury closed in on the street and slaughtered about sixty Blues who were in it, so that the guilty one should not escape their vengeance.

As for M. de Lescure, he had the greatest pleasure a man can experience ; on leaving M. de Bonchamps and Forest he had taken the Street of the Prisons, which he caused.to be thrown open, to the cry of Vive le Roi, and flung himself into the arms of M. de la Marsonniere and the two hundred and forty prisoners confined along with him. This officer and several of the men were to have been guillotined the following morning; he had shown at his examination a nobility and greatness of character worthy of the highest praise. M. de Lescure had hastened to deliver them for fear they should be mas­sacred by the Blues, and having done so flew at once to another prison in which were confined the relations of émigrés and other suspected persons, to the number of over two hundred. They had viewed the battle from afar and barricaded themselves on the inside for fear of being butchered by the patriots. M. de Lescure knocked repeatedly, crying, "Open, in the King's name !" Immediately the doors flew open, while the prison rang with cries of Vive le Roi ! All the captives embraced M. de Lescure, but without recognizing him, even though a great many were relations or friends of his ; after telling them his name he left them, to engage in the pursuit of the patriots like all the other officers.

Forest had taken the street leading to the Niort road, and accordingly found himself at the very head. Every­one's chief concern was to recapture Marie-Jeanne, the idol of the army, while the Blues, who were aware of this, used every endeavour to save her. They were already well over a league from the town. Forest had pushed forward so far that he found himself in the midst of over a hundred gendarmes ; fortunately he had the horse, saddle and weapons of a gendarme he had killed in a previous engagement, besides which, he was not dressed like a peasant and had no white cockade, and as at that time most of the Republican regiments were full of new recruits not yet in uniform, the Blues took him for one of their own men. "Comrade," said one of them, clapping him on the shoulder, "there is a reward of twenty-five thousand francs for those who save Marie-Jeanne; she is in danger; let us turn back and prevent her from being taken." All the Blues promptly turned back, whereupon Forest began to play the hero, declaring that he must be the foremost, and so gradually worked his way forward till he found himself leading, some way ahead, and followed only by the two boldest. When he was only a short distance from our men, he turned round with a cry of Vive le Roi ! and killed the two Blues who were following him, while the Vendeans, recognizing him, fell upon the enemy and captured Marie-Jeanne who was defended by some foot. To bring the history of this gun to a conclusion, I will add that she was brought back by the soldiers in triumph to La Vendée, where, in all the villages, the women came out to meet her, embracing her and covering her with flowers and ribbons.

Memoirs of the Marquise de La Rochejaquelein [ trans : Cecil Biggane ]

 
Henri de La Rochejacquelein

Henri, Marquis de La Rochejaquelein fighting at Cholet

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Not To Tell A Lie : Western Tourists In Burma See Local Customs

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(Animals, Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The King of Terrors, War)

The account given by Pinto of the final surrender of Martaban to the Burmese, and of the events which followed, is graphic and interesting, and in many particulars bears the impress of accuracy and truth, though to the Europeans of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who had a very vague and inadequate idea of the greatness and splendour of the cities and countries of Eastern Asia, it appeared absurdly exaggerated. Here, as elsewhere, it must be remembered that Pinto had no means of accurately estimating numbers, and that he frequently was obliged to take his details from the reports of men who no doubt employed Eastern hyperbole with great freedom.

It appears that the unfortunate King of Martaban had reckoned greatly upon the assistance of the Portuguese, and had held out in the full hope that they would give him efficient succour. When he found them, to his intense chagrin, ranged on the side of his enemies, he gave up his cause for lost, and entered into negotiations with his assailant, offering to surrender his capital on condition that he should be allowed to retire in safety with his family. The faithless Burmese tyrant, after pledging his word that this condition should be granted, shamefully broke the promise he had given, and the un­happy prince was led forth in triumph with his wives and children, and exposed to great humiliation and ignominy. Pinto gives a very circum­stantial account of the procession of guards and captives who marched forth from Martaban, giving the names of many of the princes, the chief priest, &c. He then says --- "Immediately after these there came in a litter Nhay Canatoo, daughter of the King of Pegu, whose kingdom the Burmese monarch had taken away, and wife of the Chambainhaa. She had with her four little children, two boys and two girls, the greatest of whom was not more than seven years old, and around her were thirty or forty young women of noble family, and grandly beau­tiful. They all had their faces bowed down towards the ground, and tears in their eyes, and leaned upon other women. After these marched in order certain Falagrepos, who are among themselves like the Capu­chins among us, and who all, barefooted and bareheaded, marched onward praying, and carrying in their hands a kind of chaplets. Moreover, they encouraged these ladies as well as they could, throwing water in their faces to revive them when their hearts failed them, which happened often enough --- a lamentable spectacle, which it was impossible to look upon without shedding tears. This unhappy company was followed by a number of foot-guards, and after these came some five hundred Burmese on horseback. Near them was the Chambainhaa, mounted on a small elephant, in token of poverty and of the disregard of the world, conformably to the religion to which he had devoted him­self anew. There was no greater pomp about him than this, and he was dressed simply in a long garment of black velvet, in token of mourning, having his beard, his hair, and his eyebrows shaved off; and, moreover, he had caused an old cord to be placed about his neck before he gave himself up to the king. This spectacle, too, was so mournful that none could look upon it and refrain, from weeping. With regard to his age, he was about sixty-two years old, of very lofty stature, with a grave and severe countenance, and the look of a very generous prince. When he had come to a place where a confused company of women, children, and old men awaited him, when they saw him in such a lamentable condition, before he had emerged from the city, they all raised, six or seven times, such a loud and terrible cry, that one would have said the earth was crumbling under his feet; and these lamentations and cries were incontinently followed by a multitude of blows that they inflicted on their own faces, striking themselves heavily with stones, with so little pity for themselves that the majority of them were in a short time covered with blood. Moreover, these things so horrible, to see and so terrible to hear, in such measure afflicted all the bystanders, that even the Burmese guards, though they were men of war, and con­sequently little inclined to compassion, and enemies of the Chambainhaa, could not refrain from weeping like children. It was at this place, also, that the heart of Nhay Canatoo, the wife of the Chambainhaa, twice failed her, and: all the other ladies gave way also, insomuch ilhat it was necessary to let him dismount from the elephant on which he was riding, that he might be able to encourage his wife and to console her. Then, seekig her lying on the ground like one dead, and embracing her four littte children, he knelt down on the ground and looked up with tears in his eyes."

The severest part of the unfortunate prince's trial was the mortifica­tion of meeting the Portuguese, who had behaved very treacherously towards him, and who were now standing to see him pass "all clothed in holiday dresses, with cuirasses of buffalo leather, their hats on their heads ornamented with a great number of plumes, and their arquebuses on their shoulders." Juan Cayeyro, one of the number, especially attracted the notice of the Chambainhaa by flaunting in crimson satin. On seeing him, the fallen monarch bent forward on his elephant's neck, and declared that he would go no farther unless these wicked and trea­cherous men were removed. The Birmans themselves were irritated at the double-dealing of the Spaniards, and the captain of the guard sar­castically bade them go shave their beards, and no longer deceive people into the belief that they were soldiers; and the Burmese would hire a number of women in their stead, who would serve for money. The Burmese guards, following their commander's lead, thereupon pushed away the Spaniards with great contempt, and Pinto adds pathetically, "Not to tell a lie, nothing ever so sensibly affected me as this, for the honour of my compatriots."

 
Elephant East

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The Fire That Breaks

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-

dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding,
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy ! then off, off forth on swing,

As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding,
Stirred for a bird, --- the achieve of; the mastery of the thing !
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here

Buckle ! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier !

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,

Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins : The Windhover

 

Falcon on Wing

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And We Have Not

about
at 3:00 am
faq
(Correctitude, Melancholy, Other Writ, Royalism)

A number of tragedies were encompassed within the assassination of Lincoln --- including no doubt that event itself --- not least the peculiar judicial executions of his purported murderers; yet if the greatest was the destruction of the Emperor of Mexico, far exceeding in magnitude the elimination of a mere president, the next must be that the plotters did not succeed entirely in carving through the neck of Seward.

Still, for the Empress Charlotte the major villain was Louis-Napoleon, of whom to her husband she wrote in a vivacious style after the final betrayal.

Darling:
In the morning I am leaving for Miramar via Milan, which will prove to you that I have achieved exactly nothing... But there remains the satisfaction of having defeated their arguments, torn down their dishonest pretexts, and in the end having won a moral victory for you. Nevertheless, He has turned against us, and no power on earth is of any avail, for He has Hell on his side and we have not. You must not believe that the opposition comes from outside, for He himself appoints legislative bodies to do his will; nor is this professed anxiety about the United States the real reason for his stubbornness. He wants to commit a long premeditated crime, not through fear or change of heart, or for any motive whatever, but only because He is the incarnation of villainy on earth and means to destroy what is good. It is because men do not see the perversity of his ac­tions that they adore him.
Up to the last I interrupted him pour parer et ignorer le refus [ in order to parry and prevent his refusal ], but it is obvious that He alone chooses to be unmerciful, for the least of his ministers would have softened. I can assure you of this much, that for me He is the Devil in person; at our last meeting his expression would have made your hair stand on end, and this ugliness was a reflection of his soul... He has never loved you, for He is incapable of loving. Like a viper He fascinated you with tears that were as false as his words, and with deeds that were perfidy. You must be freed from his claws as soon as possible.
Even while delivering his final no, by which He knew you would be ruined, his conduct was oily. A genteel Mephistopheles, He kissed my hand; but I can recognize pantomime, for I have seen through him twice. It still appalls me to realize that the world has never known and never will know his like, but le règne louche à sa fin [ the reign touches its end ] and soon we shall again be able to get our breath.
You probably think I am exaggerating, but con­ditions here absolutely resemble the Apocalypse, with Babylon on the Seine fitting the picture; it makes hardened skeptics believe in God when they can see the Devil so close at hand ...
As a direct result of my visit le vin est dévoilé [ the wine has certainly been spilled ] for humanity to judge and condemn. I got a peep at the records of the Fi­nance Commission, another putrid affair from start to finish. Count de Germiny promised to pay the poor legations, which will be something at least --- provided he does it; everything they tell you here is untrue. But you must not believe that I grovel before these people. I just tear off their masks and then thunder at them, without getting vulgar, to be sure. They have prob­ably never in their lives been more mortified ...
I can not understand their willingness to let you abdicate. It seems, to me that you ought to hold on, because the day is coming when He will be dethroned and France as well as the whole of Europe will see that their interests are furthered by an empire in Mexico. The Old World is crumbling because He has his finger in every pie; you can smell him in the bloodshed of all the nations struggling for unity. He uses Prim and Bismarck as his agents and spreads a network of propaganda across the map, laughing at those whom He has victimized. There's no defying him except from the other side of the Atlantic.
Austria is changing into a Magyar state and will soon collapse. In Italy they have a financial depression, while Spain is ablaze with unrest. You have nothing to hope for in this hemisphere where He would des­troy you with his hate, for He can scarcely bring him­self to utter your name. I advise you to dismiss his hirelings and to control your army without French interference, otherwise you will be lost. The whole military question proves this. If you can enlist native sympathy success is still possible, but never again put your trust in the French. If the truth about your sit­uation were really known abroad, money would pour into your treasury from all sides, for even the French people are materially concerned in this matter in view of their foreign trade.
I shall be overjoyed when you send for me. Don't plan to come to Europe yourself because He will crush you; He wants to own everything from the North Cape to Cape Matapan. Call me back after you have eman­cipated yourself from him in Mexico. It is quite appar­ent that my presence here has been the worst blow He has had in years. I must also add that many charm­ing people are taking a real interest in me.

I embrace you with all my heart. Always your faithful

Charlotte

P.S. Naturally I have not lived here in the style you expected... But now I am receiving my inher­itance and some very fine jewels, among them a mag­nificent Gold Fleece for you ...

 
She was rather obviously mistaken as to Otto v. Bismarck's role, of course *meditatively* Yet it is nice to note that towards the end of her maddened life the German troops ordered past her retreat in Belgium were detailed to pass by without singing or disturbance to shelter her from their ineluctable entry into the land of her birth...

 

Arthur Hughes --- Ophelia
Arthur Hughes -- Ophelia ~ 2nd Version

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Ingleside B: Ah, But You Shudder

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(Literature, Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry)

It is absurd for fond par­ents to think to enlist great interest from strangers in the writh­ing or pass­ive ten­ants of the cradle. Except in the­ory, this undeveloped bud must be a blank to nearly all but Father ( some­times ), Mother and nurse always. No baby can sug­gest to the mind that strange thrill of par­ent­al won­der until it is your own, your first­born. To be a Father ! That is a holy name, a sweet rela­tion, a thought full of sur­prise at first. So it is by the cradle in your own nurs­ery that you must be sup­posed to be sit­ting if these mus­ings are to find an echo in your heart. It is the even­ing hour; you have come in from a par­ish round, or from a day in the counting-house; you pass the nurs­ery door; the cur­tains are drawn across the win­dow ; there is a mel­low glow and dance of fire­light in the room; the nurse has gone down­stairs for her mistress’s hot water; you steal in and take your seat by the cradle or the cot. Such quiet, soft breath­ing, such a pass­ive tiny hand out­side the coun­ter­pane: so help­less and depend­ent a creature; the par­ted lips a full-drawn Cupid’s bow; the scant silky hair; the flushed round cheek, — so soft when you stoop to kiss it, — the little clutch­ing thumbs, and slight twitch­ing move­ments of the tiny dim­pled hand ; the pretty noise and motion, suck­ing in his dreams. Yes, there is plenty of beau­ty in the sight to the inter­ested watch­er. You crave soon to touch the wee pass­ive hand; to feel its soft tendril-closing about your coarse big fore-finger, to kiss the white smooth fore­head. And you pass from won­der at the little new­comer, which has settled down so con­fid­ingly and securely as a life-inmate with you, to mus­ings about it, about its future. What will that Future be ? Oh what strange store of exper­i­ences lies before this uncon­scious little trav­el­ler, asleep in its bark while storms rage around it in the weary world ! What mean­est thou, 0 sleep­er ?  —  while we are cast­ing out our bales, of joy, and health, and glad­ness, and blithe spir­its, to be sucked in by the hungry sea. What mean­est thou, 0 sleep­er ? And yet, ah, sleep on ! For who can tell what life will bring, in the com­ing years, to thee ? What sad­nesses  —  ( you think of these, you will notice, rather than of the joys, which come sel­dom, and less cer­tainly, and fleet soon­er )  —  what dis­il­lu­sions as life goes on; what blights, and frosts, and winds, and insects, ready for the sheets of blos­som ! What strong agon­ies; what silent aches; and, far worse than these whole­some bit­ters of sor­row,  —  what exper­i­ences of sin; stains on the white unwrit­ten page; mar­ring worms in the unfold­ing bud. But what will be the com­pleted story, when God writes “Fin­is” on the last page of the earth-portion of the ever­last­ing his­tory, which has here begun ? What flower will open from the bud ; res­ult­ing in what fruit, meet for the Master’s table?
Ah, you shud­der to think how fond Moth­ers and Fath­ers have watched by the cots and stooped over to kiss the lips of an Absa­lom,  —  a Nero,  —  a Judas. A mon­strous growth, and no flower of beau­ty or fruit of use, has sprung from such tender buds. Those little pearls, which gave such interest and anxi­ety in the cut­ting, have turned out to be ser­pents’ teeth, yea ” sharper than a serpent’s tooth,” before now.  —  Hush ! such thoughts shall not have place by this inno­cent dear slum­ber­er. Yet let them; for God has made it very much your respons­ib­il­ity, ( He tells us so, how­ever mys­terious it must be now to us ), wheth­er an angel of light or an angel of dark­ness shall finally develop out of that tender bud.

 
Baby cot

 
ingleside cover

 
ingleside spine

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Ingleside A: Eternal Right And Order

Two posts from ‘Ingleside and Way­side Mus­ings’: My copy has no title­page, yet Google informs that this was writ­ten by the Rev. I. R. Ver­non. Whatever, the influ­ence of Carlyle is rather mani­fest  —  even per­haps par­tak­ing of Carlyle’s own influ­ence to style, the sur­pris­ing Jean-Paul Richter  —  allied to the nat­ur­al fer­vency of the impas­sioned Vic­tori­an preach­er…

 
Stars through Window

 
STARS : These seem to me even as the quiet thoughts of Heav­en; and some similes and med­it­a­tions may well there­fore be linked with them to intro­duce this hum­ble cluster of mus­ings, a con­stellation of lesser lights, no doubt, which, how­ever, I would hang some­where, if I may, between earth and heav­en ; stars, I would have them, abid­ing in the one, but still look­ing down upon the oth­er. Thoughts re­moved from earth, but not ali­en from it: orbs watch­ing and shin­ing down upon the tur­moil and the jost­ling, but tak­ing no fever­ish or heated part in it:  —  this is the charac­ter which I would have my con­stel­la­tions to bear, how­ever minute be their twinkle. Mild light, let them give, scarce per­ceived through the haze; light clear and vivid through the frost; light lumin­ous and large now and then, and mak­ing a nar­row quiet trem­bling path upon some rest­less ocean under­neath. Stars with all the jewel-lights of dew-drops on a hoary autumn lawn; jasper; sap­phire; a chalcedony ; an emer­ald ; beryl; jacinth; amethyst; opals ; pearls ; all hues of dia­monds, and

One star, the chryso­lite.”

For all these are to be found on —

Heaven’s star-sprinkled floor,”

which is our can­opy.
Stars. Ay, you must wait for the quiet hours, when work is done, before you can find them ; they will not make their pres­ence known in the busy day. Above the dust and the heat and the tur­bu­lence, they watch on, indeed, in grave con­tem­pla­tion ; but they are with­drawn behind a screen of light from that care­ful­ness and trouble about many things which goes on beneath their shin­ing. Stars are ever lovely ; stars watch­ing, with their haunt­ing eyes, over still lakes and sleep­ing moun­tains; over hushed autumn forests and vast prair­ies; over inter­min­able miles of sand, and over hedge-patterned fields, and twink­ling homesteads, and nest­ling farms ; over the great unquiet sea, and over the heaped dead in a battle-field; over a moun­ded church­yard, and over a dance in a garden ;  —  they are lovely, and per­haps as it were most at home, over all the scenes of quiet, and inno­cent glad­ness, and repose.
But they have to me a spe­cial charm, a charm of incon­gruity and yet of pecu­li­ar fit­ness, when I see them steal out one by one, or in faint clusters, into the dusk­ing sky above the streets of a great City. They come  —  not with any scorn or sar­casm,  —  come in their sub­lime eth­er­e­al still­ness to look upon the thronged streets, and the glit­ter­ing wares, and the squal­id back lanes; gay Regent Street; noisy Cheapside ; sed­ate Pater­noster Row ; murky Sev­en Dials ;-— not with any touch of sar­casm, oh no ;  —  rather with a hint of hope-in-sadness ; still more, with a rev­el­a­tion, a mes­sage from God; a voice without speech or lan­guage speak­ing down through the smoke and the foul exhal­a­tions and the clang and clash and roar,  —  telling of what-not that is high and pure, and eth­er­e­al and peace­ful ? Of infin­ity, amid that which is finite ; of calm, amid that which is an end­less per­turb­a­tion ; of rest, to weary toil; of peace, where there are many dis­trac­tions ; of nobil­ity, amid a whirl of mean­nesses and low aims ; of Heav­en to that which, hav­ing Earth’s unlove­li­ness, is shut out from all her beau­ty, except that of the clouds and the sky,
Still above these lower clouds and this blue atmo­sphere, they abide and watch, and are speech­lessly elo­quent; when the roar dies into a mur­mur, and the mur­mur into a few hours’ broken hush, while the sin-burdened, sorrow-laden, toil­ing, laugh­ing, weep­ing City sleeps ; over all, those grave eyes are watch­ing. There are the casinos, with their frantic rev­elry, and heat, and glare; there are the dens of vice and infamy; there is the mur­der­er with his hand raised over his vic­tim; there are the lonely wan­der­ers in the street, or the the rows of dark, dumb, blind houses; there is a jumble of sleep­ing and wak­ing, of laugh­ing and sob­bing, of liv­ing and dying, while over all —

Starry tears are trem­bling on the mighty Midnight’s face.”

And above this close-packed speck on the world’s plains, where there is neither elbow-room nor air-room, and where acres are worth mil­lions, there is remind­ing, but not mock­ery, in the prod­ig­al exhib­it­ing of infin­ite Space, with which —

The night reveals Her hol­low gulfs of stars.”

0 money-absorbed men in Lon­don; in Manchester; in Liv­er­pool; in Glas­gow; whereso­ever; 0 nation of shop­keepers, more bent than ever now on earn­ing this name ; 0 grave and hon­est men, shrewd and prac­tic­al, yet ever look­ing down, look­ing down; ever in a whirl of busy life, ever set to the grind­stone of money-making; — gradu­ally grow­ing more and more to be mere dull drudges in the heavy cart laden with this world’s short-lived but exact­ing wants and whims, require­ments and con­ven­tion­al­it­ies; 0 lofty spir­its, in danger of ever-growing and even etern­al lessen­ing and degrad­a­tion:  —  it is for you that those Stars are set in the heav­en, above your Offices and Ware­houses ; it is for you that they come from their radi­ant cham­ber when Night emp­ties your counting-houses, and out in the streets you can­not elude them ; it is for you that they look down between the houses, over the roofs, over the courts, glit­ter­ing like to fruit through the gaunt sol­it­ary tree here and there ; pen­et­rat­ing with their great gra­cious eyes your very being;  —  and oh, if you would listen,  —  and not still look only on or down, still absorbed, still absorbed;  —  if you would look up,  —  what a heart-stirring ser­mon you might gather from their silence ! what a les­son of vast­ness, con­tras­ted with the ever-increasing pet­ti­ness of your lives ! What infin­ity, com­pared with your ends, which are grow­ing more and more utterly finite! What a speech of Etern­ity, what silent bell-music, steal­ing over the jangling voices of Time !
How ? say you the neces­sit­ies of busi­ness must make an arti­fi­cial code of mor­al­ity, at vari­ance with, and that must super­sede, the ever­last­ing prin­ciples of Right ? Has not —

The intense, clear, star-sown vault of heav­en,”

a word to say about this ? As you emerge from the hot glar­ing office, and stand apart from the stream of men  —  ( in that recess, say, by St. Michael’s Church, Cornhill ), and look up, above the Temple-like Roy­al Exchange, and see those etern­al Watch­ers; the abysses of black-blue between them ; and, across this, cast, like a light mist or scarf, the untold bil­lions of the Milky Way; do not flim­sy soph­is­tries exhale ? can expedi­ent Wrong ( prof­it­able for this moment ) endure that glit­ter­ing pic­ture of etern­al Right and Order ?

 
Stars

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Stand Fast, Koshchei, Who Made All Things As They Are

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at 2:30 am
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(Literature, Other Writ, Poetry)

When this bright bee had departed as the other had done before him, then Toupan moved his wings, and he made ready to overlook the work of Koshchei: and in the instant that Toupan moved, the worlds in that part of the universe were dislodged and ran melting down the sky. It was Gauracy who swept all the fragments together and formed a sun immeasurably larger than that which he had lost, and an obstreperous mad conflagration which did not in anything conform with the handiwork of Koshchei.
And Gauracy then shouted friendlily to Toupan, "Now is the hour of thy release, O Toupan ! now is the hour of the return of the Old Ones, now is the hour that Koshchei falls !"
Toupan answered: "The hour of my release is not yet come. But this is the hour of my overlooking."
Then Gauracy bellowed, as he swept yet other worlds into the insatiable flaming of his dreadful sun, "I kindle for you a fine light to see by !"
And now the gods who were worshipped in those worlds which remained, these also cried out to Kosh­chei. For now, in the intolerable glare of Gauracy's malefic sun, they showed as flimsy and incredible inven­tions. And the gods knew, moreover, that, if ever the last remaining bee were freed from the cross, the dizain of the Pleiades would be completed, and Toupan would be released, and the power of the Old Ones would return; and that a day foretold by many prophets, the day upon which every god must shave with a razor that is hired, would be at hand; and that, with the falling about of this very dreadful and ignominious necessity, the day of the divine contentment of all gods in any place would be over, for ever.
Meanwhile the eyes of Toupan went forth, among the Star Warriors and the Wardens of the Worlds. It was They who, under Koshchei, had shaped the earths and the waters, and who had knit together the mountains, and who had fashioned all other things as they are. It was They who had woven the heavens, and who had placed the soul of every god within him. They were the makers of the hours and the creators of the days and the kindlers of the fires of life, and They were powers whose secret and sustaining names were not known to any of the gods of men. Yet now the eyes of Toupan went among the Star Warriors and the Wardens of the Worlds, and Toupan regarded them one by one; and wheresoever the old eyes of Toupan had rested there remained no world nor any Warden watching over it, but only, for that instant, a very little spiral of thin sluggish vapour.
And those of them who were not yet destroyed cried piteously to Koshchei, who had devised Them and who had placed Them in Their stations to keep eternal watchfulness over all things as they are.
Now there is no denying that, in the manner of artists, Koshchei had cleared his throat, and had fidgeted a little, in the while that Toupan was overlooking Koshchei's handiwork. But when the Wardens and the Star Warriors cried out to him for aid, then Koshchei, lifting never a finger, said only:
"Eh, sirs, have patience ! For I made all things as they are; and I know now it is my safeguard that I made them in two ways."

James Branch Cabell : The Silver Stallion --- Chapter 16.

 

Angel on Cross

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II : ‘We Shall Have To Teach You’">Jerome II : ‘We Shall Have To Teach You’

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(Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy, The King of Terrors)

As a child I studied one of the part-works --- a form once popular from the 1920s to 1980s, but which has rather naturally fallen out of vogue: magazines issued weekly --- on WWI; obviously such publications included photographs which should be seen once, in order to understand consequence, but not dwelt upon unless one is in training to become a serial killer. Actually, mere death cannot appall: there is nothing in the least romantic in death --- as opposed to dying well --- and it's displays are solely squalid; however ongoing injury or the truthful immediacy of creatures suffering causes as much instantaneous flinching within as if in their presence. The issue dealing with the murder of Tsar Nicky and his family had on the back page another murder, that of a black man burning with grinning morons surveying this act.

To maintain that these lynchings --- within living memory --- were all of the innocent seems both unlikely and inapposite; since that matters not: such behaviour is utterly unacceptable were you dealing with devils from Hell. Still, it can be pointed out that this is one form of action that can be justified under any variant of democracy, from pure populism to libertarian individualism. And again, those who condemn such atrocities of the past, just under current fashion rather than for the pure lack of decency in such degrading manifestations, are often glad and usually silent when the victims are those of whom they disapprove --- such as say, nazis or Saddam's people..

 
Once only --- at Chattanooga --- did I meet with dis­agreement : and then I was asking for it. Two negroes had been lynched a few days before my arrival on the usual charge of having assaulted a white woman: proved afterwards ( as is generally the case ) to have been a trumped-up lie. All through the South, this lynching horror had been following me; and after my reading I asked for permission to speak on a matter about which my conscience was troubling me. I didn't wait to get it, but went straight on. At home, on political platforms, I have often experienced the sensation of stirring up opposi­tion. But this was something different. I do not suggest it was anything more than fancy, but it seemed to me that I could actually visualize the anger of my audience. It looked like a dull, copper-coloured cloud, hovering just above their heads, and growing in size. I sat down amid silence. It was quite a time before anybody moved. And then they all got up at the same moment, and turned towards the door. On my way out, in the lobby, a few people came up to me and thanked me, in a hurried furtive manner.
My wife was deadly pale. I had not told her of my intention. But nothing happened, and I cannot help thinking that, if the tens of thousands of decent American men and women to whom this thing must be their country's shame would take their courage in both hands and speak their mind, America might be cleansed from this foul sin.

***

My curiosity has always prompted me to find out all I could about my fellow human beings wherever I have happened to be. I maintain that the American man, taking him class for class and individual for individual, is no worse than any of the rest of us. I will ask his permission to leave it at that.
The last time I visited America was during the first year of the war. America then was all for keeping out of it. I had friends in big business, and was introduced to others. Their opinion was that America could best serve Humanity in the bulk by reserving herself to act as peace-maker. In the end, she would be the only nation capable of considering the future without passion and without fear. The general feeling was, if anything, pro-German, tem­pered in the East by traditional sentiment for France. I failed to unearth any enthusiasm for England, in spite of my having been commissioned to discover it. I have sometimes wondered if England and America really do love one another as much as our journalists and politicians say they do. I had an interesting talk with President Wilson, chiefly about literature and the drama. But I did get him, before I left, to say a little about the war; and then he dropped the schoolmaster and became animated.
"We have in America," he said, "twenty million people of German descent. Almost as many Irish. In New York State alone there are more Italians than in Rome. We have more Scandinavians than there are in Sweden. Here, side by side, dwell Czechs, Roumanians, Slavs, Poles and Dutchmen. We also have some Jews. We have solved the problem of living together without wanting to cut one another's throats. You will have to learn to do the same in Europe. We shall have to teach you."
Undoubtedly at that time Wilson was intending to remain neutral. Whether his later change of mind brought about good or evil is an arguable point. But for America the war would have ended in stalemate. All Europe would have been convinced of the futility of war. "Peace without Victory " --- the only peace containing any possibility of permanence --- would have resulted.

To the democrat, America is the Great Disappoint­ment. Material progress I rule out. Beyond a certain point, it tends to enslave mankind. For spiritual progress, America seems to have no use. Mr. Ford has pointed out that every purchaser of a Ford car can have it delivered to him, painted any colour he likes, so long as it's black. Mr. Ford expresses in a nutshell the mental attitude of modern America. Every man in America is free to do as he darn well pleases so long as, for twenty-four hours a day, he does what everybody else is doing. Every man in America is free to speak his mind so long as he shouts with the crowd. He has not even Mr. Pickwick's choice of choosing his crowd. In America there is but one crowd. Every man in America has the right to think for himself so long as he thinks what he is told. If not --- like the heretics of the Middle Ages --- let him see to it that his chamber door is locked, that his tongue does not betray him. The Klu Klux Klan, with its travelling torture chamber, is but the outward and visible sign of the spirit of modern America. Thought in America is standardized. America is not taking new wine, lest the old bottles be broken.

I ask my American friends --- and I have many, I know --- to forgive me. My plea is that I am growing old. And it comes to me that before long I may be called upon to stand before the Judge of all the earth, and to make answer concerning the things that I have done and --- perhaps of even more import­ance --- the things that I have left undone. The thought I am about to set down keeps ringing in my brain. It will not go away. I am afraid any longer to keep silence. There are many of power and authority who could have spoken it better. I would it had not been left to me. If it make men angry, I am sorry.
The treatment of the negro in America calls to Heaven for redress. I have sat with men who, amid vile jokes and laughter, told of "Buck Niggers" being slowly roasted alive; told how they screamed and writhed and prayed; how their eyes rolled inward as the flames crept up till nothing could be seen but two white balls. They burn mere boys alive and sometimes women. These things are organized by the town's "leading citizens" Well-dressed women crowd to the show, children are lifted up upon their fathers' shoulders. The Law, represented by grin­ning policemen, stands idly by. Preachers from their pulpits glorify these things, and tell their congrega­tions that God approves. The Southern Press roars its encouragement. Hangings, shootings would be terrible enough. These burnings; these slow grillings of living men, chained down to iron bedsteads; these tearings of live, quivering flesh with red-hot pinchers can be done only to glut some hideous lust of cruelty. The excuse generally given is an insult to human intelligence. Even if true, it would be no excuse. In the majority of cases, it is not even pre­tended. The history of the Spanish Inquisition unrolls no greater shame upon the human race. The auto da fe, at least, was not planned for the purpose of amusing a mob. In the face of this gigantic horror, the lesser sufferings of the negro race in America may look insignificant. But there must be tens of thousands of educated, cultured men and women cursed with the touch of the tar-brush to whom life must be one long tragedy. Shunned, hated, despised, they have not the rights of a dog. From no white man dare they even defend the honour of their women. I have seen them waiting at the ticket offices, the gibe and butt of the crowd, not venturing to approach till the last white man was served. I have known a woman in the pains of childbirth made to travel in the cattle wagon. For no injury at the hands of any white man is there any redress. American justice is not colour blind. Will the wrong never end ?

Jerome K. Jerome : My Life and Times

 

Bat Bombs

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Où Est Le Chaise Électrique ?

We stopped in Belgium long enough to savor the richness of Flemish art, in which Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges abound; then returned to Paris for a last taste of its delights. It was a good time to be leaving France. The franc had been slipping and slipping; it looked as though it might follow the course the German mark had taken five years earlier. There were disturbing political rumblings; people were tense and edgy. The Parisians, never particularly cordial to foreigners, were now openly hostile. They had to stand by and watch the aliens, especially the Americans, stock up with merchan­dise they themselves could no longer afford. At the banks, knots of well-to-do Americans kept their eyes glued on bulletins that an­nounced fluctuations in the rate of exchange, waiting for another drop so that they could get a few more francs for their dollars. This did not go down well with the French. Nor did the fad, adopted by some exuberant tourists, of pasting hundred-franc notes on the outside of their valises. I resisted the temptation to snap up art bargains, confining my purchases to a few inexpensive prints by Matisse, Marie Laurencin and Foujita.

Our return to Paris coincided with the arrival of hundreds of members of the American Legion, who had come over to attend the organization's tenth-anniversary celebration. Careful prepara­tions for the event had been made, especially with respect to public relations. An American friend of mine who had close connections with the French press was asked to handle the publicity. He agreed on condition that he was to have a million francs to use at his dis­cretion. During the convention, the only newspapers that criticized the Legion were the Socialist L'Oeuvre and the Communist L'Humanite.

The behavior of the Legionnaires was characterized by the boorishness, bad taste and rowdyism that are typical of the annual gathering of this aggregation of professional patriots. In American cities one endures it with resignation, knowing that the boys will soon be going home to their service stations, funeral parlors and haberdasheries. But on foreign soil, and in Paris of all places, the American who esteems his country and values its good name squirms at the antics of these ill-bred middle-aged adolescents.

An uproar in the Rue de Lille informed me that the Legion­naires were in town. Drawn to the window of my hotel room, I saw one of the visiting merrymakers on the balcony outside his room at the Hotel Palais d'Orsay, across the street. Stripped down to his underwear, he was brandishing a bottle to which he had frequent recourse. To the passing women in the street below he addressed pointed invitations; to the men he shouted, 'What you make in francs I make in dollars." For almost the only time in my life, I wished that I were anything but an American. This opening note was repeated over and over, with variations. Everywhere one saw blowzy men in fatigue caps, drunk, boisterous, quarrelsome, trying to bargain with shopkeepers, drinking champagne at little bistros at eleven in the morning, lining up in the stifling heat and the stench of frying fat to buy doughnuts in the barracks which the Salvation Army had erected in the citadel of French cookery.

On the final day of the convention, the day of the big parade, there was an incident that was both hilarious and grim. We posted ourselves in the Place de la Concorde to get a good view of the proceedings. The Parisians who packed the huge square stared in amazement as the paraders, state by state, marched by, the trim drum majorettes cavorting, the men arrayed like members of the chorus in an operetta with a Ruritanian setting. In due course the Massachusetts delegation appeared, resplendent in scarlet or green or purple. Suddenly someone shouted, "Où est la chaise électrique ?' The memory of the Sacco-Vanzetti execution was fresh; the crowd took up the cry with savage delight. Soon it filled the whole square. The men from Massachusetts, interpreting it as some special tribute, beamed and waved in grateful acknowledgment.

Elmer Rice : Minority Report

 
Thiers

Jehan Georges Vibert --- The Apotheosis of Mons. Thiers

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To-Morrow

about
at 12:30 pm
faq
(Correctitude, Other Writ, Poetry, The King of Terrors)

Her strong enchantments failing,

Her towers of fear in wreck,
Her limbecks dried of poisons

And the knife at her neck,
The Queen of air and darkness

Begins to shrill and cry,
"O young man, O my slayer,

To-morrow you shall die."
O Queen of air and darkness,

I think ‘tis truth you say,
And I shall die to-morrow;

But you will die to-day.

A. E. Housman : Her Strong Enchantments Failing

 

Dying Angel

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¡ Métanse Este País En El Culo !

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(Correctitude, Generalia, Self Writ)

This story serendipitu­ously brings to mind a story that a Uruguay­an friend related to me about a group of starving Uruguay­an pat­ri­ot dis­sid­ents who depar­ted Uruguay for Ita­ly in the early sev­en­ties. As the boat cast away from the docks in Mon­tevid­eo, in full view of gov­ern­ment con­trolled news cam­er­as and armed mil­it­ary police, the mul­ti­tude of Uruguay­ans on the port­side of this steer­age class rust buck­et unfurled a giant ban­ner bear­ing the fol­low­ing text:

¡ Métanse este país en el culo !” — “Take this coun­try and shove it !

From a com­ment in Amren…

 

Per­son­al: News Update:

Whil­st neither Bol­ing­broke nor Oxford were neither in the least bit admir­able char­ac­ters; spine­less and unstaunch in a slip­pery age  —  though PQueen Anne’s time does have a sin­gu­lar mer­it of quaint sin­gu­lar­ity togeth­er with son­or­ous names of brass  —  St. John’s fam­ous words to Har­ley resound per­petu­ally as a scream­ing deaths-head in every Englishman’s mind: “What a world is this, and how does for­tune banter us !”

A week ago my dear little Pajero gave up the ghost with a burst radi­at­or; although my intu­ition tells me this is the last bit of ill-luck in this streak, it has left me back with pub­lic trans­port until she can be replaced  — plus it was kind of inev­it­able since a rather unchar­ac­ter­ist­ic bout of obstin­acy had impelled me to have the engine trans­ferred from the pre­vi­ous one after a tyre-burst last autumn into one with a dud engine, rather than simply get­ting a new one back then. How­ever, even with a car there are few places I care to go around here, Bri­tain is stale, vacu­ous and over­whelm­ingly vul­gar: how­ever without a van, the pro­cess of expe­di­at­ing my release gets hindered briefly… Hav­ing arranged for where a stor­age con­tain­er can be placed, I still need to actu­ally acquire one: once that is solved, I shall move many hun­dreds of boxes there­in, and then hope­fully, find some more pleas­ant coun­try to move to… pos­sibly any­where in the more east­erly parts of Europe to stare at pretty horses.

Last night there was a con­sid­er­able upset as my broad­band sud­denly froze at the last minute of an eBay auc­tion, thus stop­ping me buy­ing my third pair of jack­boots  —  which really are the only prop­er foot­ware for chaps brought up in the 19th cen­tury Russo-German Tra­di­tion ( I may be vegan, but I think some rules can be skipped for items over 60 years old )  —  which is an uncom­mon option since sol­diers back then appear to gen­er­ally have had smal­ler sized feet than today. Some foul words were flung at the uncom­pre­hend­ing screen; but on reflec­tion, I decided it was not poor luck, but merely some­thing that was meant to be.

A final weird­ness: a couple of days ago I stepped off a bus and a girl approached and asked me to buy some cigar­ettes for her: since I could afford this due to not buy­ing fuel for a few days I unenthu­si­ast­ic­ally but politely did so then said good­bye. What was odd was that going to the store, she refrained from any con­ver­sa­tion except to com­plain that I walked too fast. I think I may have this as an acquired trait as a jac­ob­ite, since the Stu­arts were notori­ously fast-walkers. May­be they got it from their ancest­or, Gang­er Hrolf, too big for any horse… Still, the mor­al is clear: more jack­boots.

This is a paint­ing by Sir Hubert von Herkomer that has oftimes strengthened me  —  par­tic­u­larly when walk­ing into a town at dawn ( which is astound­ingly depress­ing ) then able to recall how much worse off life was/is for oth­ers back in the day…

 
Herkomer

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Fat Shubin

Comte Louis de Robien was a cynical French diplomat attached to St. Petersburg during the First World War: in his diary of the final years he detailed the Revolutions and that curious time when at any given time Tsarists, democrats, bolsheviks, socialists, the German army, Ukrainians and many other groups of varying sizes could be either fighting each other, or in very temporary alliance contesting the other groups singly or in concert...

 
Monday 9th April 1917
Shubin is still very worried. The apparent orderliness of the demon­stration in honour of the victims of the revolution does not re­assure him.
He analysed the psychology of Russian crowds to us with great shrewdness --- he understands them better than we do, their men­tality is so far removed from ours.
"I saw," he told us, "a troop of a thousand demonstrators in a small side-street, waiting their turn to take up their position in one of the processions. There they stood, each one in his place, from ten o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock at night, marking time in the melting snow without the slightest sign of impatience, with nothing to eat and nothing to drink, without asking for anything from the neighbouring houses. The bearers laid five or six red coffins down on the bare earth, and none of this great crowd gave any sign of impatience. And yet, on the banners which they carried, the most extreme and violent demands were inscribed. From time to time a leader raised his baton, giving the note, and they began to sing: 'We will pillage ! --- we will kill ! --- we will cut throats ! --- to the gallows with the Tsar ! --- the bourgeois are vampires !' etc. . . . The tenors cried out for the heads of the aristocrats, the sopranos for that of the Tsar, the basses wanted no one spared. Then, when the verse was over they rested for ten minutes and then, at a new signal, they started again. It wasn't until that night that the procession could start marching, the bearers lifted the coffins on to their shoulders, and the crowd left in an orderly fashion, singing: 'We will pillage ! --- We will murder !' etc. . . ."
Fat Shubin mimed the scene all the while he described it, rolling his pale blue eyes, beating time, singing first in a tenor voice, then in a bass... and then marching across the drawing-room with superb calm.
He was most amusing. But his observation is very exact. In no other country could people confine themselves to words like this, without breaking into action. But how dangerous it all is ! Because, once let loose, these brutes are terrifying. In 1905 there were atrocious scenes and the moujiks, so mild in appearance, pillaged everywhere with sadistic cruelty. Someone told me about one 'estate', where the peasants cut three legs off all the sheep. In other places they tore out the cattles' tongues and put out their eyes. Let us hope that we do not see horrors like these !

Wednesday 8th August 1917
Everyone is interested in the battalions of women soldiers who exercise in the courtyard of the Paul Palace on the Fontanka . . . people talk of the 'heroism of the Russian women' and they get all excited about it... as for myself, I feel that it is rather unpleasant histrionics. As far as fighting goes these women can only be thinking of the rough-and-tumble !

Tuesday 14th August 1917

What strikes one about the present events is the lack of men ... the Kadets, who stirred up so much trouble in the opposition under the old regime, have shown themselves to be lamentably incompetent when in power. It makes one wonder whether the Emperor wasn't quite right in not calling on their help. If he had given them power, far from saving him they would have precipitated his downfall, because they have shown themselves to be doctrinaires, muddlers and blunderers. . . .
During the first days of the revolution one of these brilliant theoreticians came to see Shubin, completely panic-stricken. Shubin expressed astonishment at his being in such a state at the moment when the event which he had spent his whole life preparing for was actually taking place.... "Yes," his visitor replied, "the revolution is all very well, but it is not happening the way I wrote about it in my book...." The whole history of the Kadet party is contained in that answer.

 
Heart of Snow

Edward Robert Hughes --- Heart of Snow

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Makes My Life Worthwhile

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at 12:00 pm
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(Music, Self Writ, To Know Know Know Him, Videos)

The title of my desultory novel is, as is apparent, To Know, Know, Know Him, and is equally apparently, taken from the song here by the Teddy Bears, To Know Him Is To Love Him. Written by the engaging Phil Spector, the guitarist here on the original --- who went on to create the Wall of Sound and much more --- the title having been suggested by his father's gravestone. Although grievously abused by many in the music world, he always struck me as a straight-shooting kind of guy.

 

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To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile, makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
And I do


I'll be good to him, I'll bring love to him
Everyone says there'll come a day when I'll walk alongside of him
Yes, just to know him is to love, love, love him
And I do

Why can't he see, how blind can he be
Someday he'll see that he was meant for me


To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile, makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
And I do


Why can't he see, how blind can he be
Someday he'll see that he was meant for me

To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile, makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
And I do

To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile, makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him
And I do

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“You Are Beautiful, My Manufactured Love, But It Is Only Svengali Talking To Himself…”">You Are Beautiful, My Manufactured Love, But It Is Only Svengali Talking To Himself…”

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(Literature, Melancholy, Self Writ, Videos)

With the Fall of Stage6 the honours of providing elderly films through a much more cumbersome model fall to Veoh for the time being. [ Five minute previews are given, but to see all, the Veoh software has to be installed and then one either clicks to watch immediately via the application or downloads the video to watch later : this application makes it extremely easy to lose whatever one is viewing, enabling one to have to start over from the beginning and re-enjoy anything one had not missed --- besides which, .avis really are no match for .divx... ]

I have fairly strong feelings on the House of Barrymore, despite the fact they were/are undoubtedly perfectly pleasant people in private life; yet John of that Ilk is here far more restrained and more thoughtful than in his usual performances.. And indeed, more than any of his extended family.

Trilby has been underrated since the reaction to Victorianism in the 1920s --- Michael Sadleir's strictures in his preface to Murger's Vie de la Boheme being particularly scathing --- but it was of it's slightly interesting time --- mid-nineteenth century France --- and it can be read simply as a tragedy for each individual fulfilling their destiny. There are wide differences between the book and film of course: in the first, it is Svengali actually singing through Trilby, and his love for her, although probable, is scarcely manifest; in the film he rather unlocks her singing through the same uncanny genius and loves her inordinately --- yet vainly since she is merely his creation. Further in the novel, his death prostrates her to mortal illness, the psychic link of control having been shattered; whereas in this film, she merely passes as soon as humanly possible.

Having been privileged to read the especial UNEXPURGATED version, like all du Maurier's work wistful tristeness is the overlaying key, which as a melancholic he carried out with exemplary zeal, I should say it's rather like once popular music played on a barrel organ in a minor key in a pretty courtyard with flowers fading as autumn comes.

Actually, the word UNEXPURGATED was undoubtedly purposed to catch the eager unwary into hopes that it would be imbecile to imagine du Maurier could or would ever satisfy > it just meant that his rancorous portrayal of Jimmy Whistler as a youth was included.

Svengali --- 1931

Some immensely varying, and in a way disturbingly so, visualisations of Marian Marsh's interpretation of Trilby:

 

Marian Marsh Trilby small poster

 
 
Marian Marsh Trilby one

 
 
Marian Marsh Trilby poster

 
"Ich habe Geliebt und Gelebet ! *

***

Here are a couple of Tod Slaughters thrown in both with very poor quality:
The Face at the Window
Sweeney Todd : The Demon Barber of Fleet Street the sound is peculiarly misaligned, but with awful video and agonizing sound it still beats listening to Sondheim... Then again, what does not ?

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