Sunday, 29 December 2013

Seasonal Greetings from frozenink.blogspot

A very big thank you to all those whose blogs I follow and enjoy reading regularly - including Spitalfields Life, English Buildings, Quad Royal, Fired Up, James Russell,  First Known when Lost, and many others.

And if you wish to raise a glass, you may find a tipple or a tavern to your taste here :…

"Home-made drinks in England are beer and ale, strong and small:  those of most note that are to be sold, are Lambeth ale, Margaret ale, and Derby ale; Herefordshire cider, perry, mede.  There are also several sorts of compounded ales, as cock-ale, worm-wood ale, lemon-ale, scurvygrass-ale, College-ale, &c.  These are to be had at Hercules Pillars, near the Temple; at the Trumpet, and other houses in Sheer Lane, Bell Alley; and, as I remember, at the English Tavern near Charing Cross."

Letters, 1697    John Locke
[and see www.pepysdiary.com for more detail]


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

St Nicholas arrives for Louise

"Albany,  N.Y.

Dear St. Nicholas:  I have scarlet fever at present and cannot write this to you with my own hand.  It has to be read to Mother through the sealed door of my room, and she writes it down and reads it over the telephone to my father's office, to his secretary.

You may be interested to know that this is the second time I have had scarlet fever at Christmas time.  Last year like this year I was in quarantine, and Father carried my gifts up in a bag like a Santa Claus, and came up a ladder to the roof under my window; and all the family came, too, except the cook, who was afraid to climb the ladder.  Several of our neighbours came too, to see me and my presents.  I got many beautiful things,  but I think I like you as well as any of them.

….of all the stories in St Nicholas,   The Lost Prince  is my favourite.  I have liked all of Mrs. Burnett's stories ever since I first read Little Lord Fauntleroy.  You keep me very happy until I have read you all through.  I always gobble you up at my very first chance.

Your interested reader,
Louise van Loon     (age 10)"

St Nicholas: an illustrated magazine for Young Folks   1915 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Competitive greenery

"And in my helm a triple plume shal spring,
Spangled with Diamonds dancing in the aire,
To note me Emperour of the three fold world,
Like to an almond tree ymounted high,
Upon the lofty and celestial mount,
Of ever greene Selinus quaintly dect
With blooms more white than Hericinas browes,
Whose tender blossoms tremble every one,
At every little breath that thorow heaven is blowen:"

 Tamburlaine,  Part 2, Act 4, sc.3   Christopher Marlowe


"Upon the top of all his loftie crest,
A bunch of haires discolourd diversly,
With sprincled pearl, and gold full richly drest,
Did shake, and seem'd to dance for iollity,
Like to an Almond tree ymounted hye
On top of greene Selinis all alone,
With blossoms brave bedecked daintily;
Whose tender locks do tremble every one
At every little breath, that under heaven is blowne."

The Faerie Queene  Bk. I, canto VII, 32.  Edmund Spenser

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The diary maketh the man (according to Mr Pooter)

"December 18.  Another thing which is disappointing to me is, that Carrie and Lupin take no interest whatever in my diary.
I broached the subject at the breakfast-table today.  I said: 'I was in hopes that, if anything ever happened to me, the diary would be an endless source of pleasure to you both; to say nothing of the chance of remuneration which may accrue from its being published.'
Both Carrie and Lupin burst out laughing.  Carrie was sorry for this, I could see, for she said: 'I did not mean to be rude, dear Charlie; but truly I do not think your diary would sufficiently interest the public to be taken up by a publisher.'
I replied: 'I am sure it would prove quite as interesting as some of the ridiculous reminiscences which have been published lately.  Besides, it's the diary that makes the man.  Where would Evelyn and Pepys have been if it had not been for their diaries?"

The Diary of a Nobody  George & Weedon Grossmith


Thursday, 12 December 2013

A reader at the Lisbon Liceu

"He had slim hands with long, finely shaped fingers, as if they had been created to turn the pages of precious old books.  With these fingers, he now leafed through Prado's book.  But he didn't read it; moving the pages was like a ritual to bring back the distant past.

'All the things he [Amadeu de Prado] had read when he entered crossed the threshold of the Liceu at the age of ten in his small, tailor-made frock coat!  Many of us caught ourselves secretly calculating whether we could keep up with him.  And then, after class, he sat in the library soaking up all the thick books, page after page,  line after line.  He had an incredible memory and an incredibly concentrated, rapt look on his face when reading.  "When Amadeu finishes reading a book," said another teacher, "it has no more letters.  He devours not only the meaning, but also the printer's ink."

'That's how it was: the books seemed to disappear inside him, leaving empty husks on the shelf afterwards'. "

Night Train to Lisbon   Pascal Mercier, trans. B. Harshaw

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

In the Commander's room

"I raise my hand, knock, on the door of this forbidden room where I have never been, where women do not go.  Not even Serena Joy comes here, and the cleaning is done by Guardians. What secrets, what male totems are kept in here?

I'm told to enter.  I open the door, step in.

What is on the other side is normal life.  I should say: what is on the other side looks like normal life.  There is a desk, of course, with a Computalk on it, and a black leather chair behind it.  There's a potted plant on the desk, a pen-holder set, papers.  There's an oriental rug on the floor, and a fireplace without a fire in it.  There's a small sofa, covered in brown plush, a television set, an end table, a couple of chairs.
But all around the walls there are bookcases,  They're filled with books.  Books and books and books, right out in plain view,  no locks, no boxes.  No wonder we can't come in here.  It's an oasis of the forbidden.  I try not to stare."

The Handmaid's Tale  Margaret Attwood