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Of course Sandy had heard of the certain club. There had been that matter of the comedic actor Elias Winch, Miss Richardson’s uncle, whose perilous proceedings at public places of resort had entirely ceased once he had joined. And when it seemed that Sir Hartley Zellen, a very useful man in the Commons, might join their reforming set, it had been ascertained that he was entire discreet in indulging the urges of his disposition as a member of that club.

But it had been Clorinda who had acquired intelligence of the place. There had been no approaches during the years with Gervase.

So while he returned a civil reply to Sir Hartley’s discreet overture, he was not sure what he might do about the matter.

Is it not, he asked Clorinda, a bordello?

Why, I apprehend that there are arrangements whereby fellows may gratify their urges, but 'tis also, I confide, a place where fellows of the disposition may gather and feel they may breathe a little more freely than they may do in general society. And I daresay there is some matter of being able to assist does one of their number encounter difficulties, for there are fellows that command considerable interest among 'em. And perchance there are fellows that are not in the happy situation that you had and may not live together openly, but find it a place where they need not disguise their affections.

Indeed we were most uncommon fortunate, he said in sombre tones. But, dearest sibyl, is it foolish and sentimental in me to ask, what would Gervase say?

Clorinda smiled at him. Not in the least, dear Sandy. But I think he would wish that you did not become an entire recluse, went about in Society; and I think he would consider that your presence would be of entire benefit to the club, that must indeed be a thought of theirs as well. You are known a clever and well-thought-of fellow such I am sure they would greatly desire among their number.

Would that I had a fan about me that I might smack you with it as an arrant flatterer!

But is it not entirely so? You are still greatly valued among our political set for the acuity of your judgements, indeed there have been mutterings from Sir Barton and Lords Abertylld and Vinwich that sure you should stand for Parliament yourself.

Sandy shuddered. I think I prefer to be an eminence gris.

Or eminence rouge! Sure that better suits you, I confide. She sighed. Whereas do you not think that Susannah Wallace would show extreme well as an MP?

Without a doubt, but that in the present state of society, I fear men would not listen to her, however sound her arguments.

They both sighed.

He felt curiously agitated about the prospect of attending: there was some matter of an initiation to be undergone, and then, a deal of fellows, no doubt, that, apart from Sir Hartley, he did not know.

Do you think I am dressed entirely suitable? he asked Clorinda.

She glanced up at him. Sure, she said in a distracted fashion, these working-parties to make clothes for the orphans might answer, if only the ladies that express themselves with great enthusiasm at the prospect would ever come to 'em and work. What, my dear? Oh, indeed, you look an entire well-dressed philosopher, and I would suppose they do not expect a gentleman of fashion.

Clorinda! Please to look at me properly and tell me is anything out of order.

La, o bello scozzese, you are in a taking over this business, my dear. They have already passed you for membership –

There is some ceremony -

Swearing tremendous oaths I daresay. Mayhap somewhat like unto the Freemasons, not that I know aught about 'em. Is not The Magic Flute give out to be about masons?

You seem in somewhat of a taking yourself, o silly creature, you seem considerable distracted.

Clorinda sighed and shook her head. I think Sir Vernon is going propose to me again. Sure I should not have supposed that an occasional agreeable romp was merely all he desired.

Sandy snorted. Why, I suppose he has been about a very diplomatic wooing, to lure you into concessions step by step –

Alas, I think you have the right of it. But, my dear, you look entire well. I have told Nick to bring the carriage round for you, and then bring it back to convey me to Sir Vernon’s dinner party.

So he went off in fine style to the extremely discreet doorway where one scrutinized him through the peephole before admitting him, and he was conducted at once to a small room where he was met by and introduced to Sir Stockwell Channery, Lord Saythingport, Terence Offerton, and Mr Chumbell. They read him over the conditions of membership and the horrid warnings as to the fate of any that breached discretion, but there was no ritual to the matter and while he was required to take an oath, no-one made him swear upon a Bible.

They then all heartily wrung his hand and desired him to enjoy the amenities of the establishment.

Chumbell, that was positively bouncing up and down, put his arm through Sandy’s and said, perchance they might go take a little sherry and discourse of classics?

Oh, come, Chumbell, said Offerton, taking Sandy’s other arm, there will be time enough for that, let the fellow find his feet a little first. Though he then went on to remark on the very fine billiard-table provided for members.

Indeed it was an excellent fine club – splendid comfortable public rooms, attentive footmen, a well-provided supper-table – and more familiar faces than he had anticipated. Tom Tressillian the actor; Colonel Adams, that had given such a fine lecture to the antiquarians on certain Hindu antiquities of Bengal; Sir Hartley, of course –

Is that music? he asked.

Why, must be Herr Hahn favours us upon his flute, cried Offerton.

Well: Franz Hahn; 'twas no surprise when he came to think of it.

And, in the room where Hahn was playing, standing under a painting of a faun, that was probably a Linsleigh, and undoubtedly one for which he had modelled, Maurice Allard, looking at him with a little lift of his chin and an air of having as much right as anyone to be there: surely the case. He was dressed entirely sober, but one did not spend two decades and more in the company of such a noted arbiter of style as Gervase, that had achieved the approbation of Brummell himself, without garnering some apprehension of what fine tailoring looked like. And how it might set off a fellow’s looks…

Franz Hahn put down his flute with great care, came up and shook Sandy by the hand, murmured that he heard Lady Bexbury was likely to resume her soirées? and gave a civil response to Sandy’s enquiries after his family. Did he know everybody? Perchance he had not met Allard?

Naturally, said Sandy, as Franz Hahn made the introduction, Lady Bexbury has spoken of him, declares she would be an entire dowd without him.

'Tis ever a pleasure, said Maurice, to have the dressing of Lady Bexbury.

At which moment came up Colonel Adams, with recollections of the very interesting questions Mr MacDonald had raised at his lecture, and wondering if he would some time care to come look at his little private collection of Hindu antiquities?

Sandy made some civil reply and was very glad of the glass of wine he found in his hand. He looked about the room and said, I confide that painting is a Linsleigh?

The most of the paintings are, said Offerton. He added, with a wink, there are some particular fine ones on the upper floor – is Basil here the e’en?

Maurice shrugged. Have not seen him.

Offerton went on, you may go look at 'em – of course, do not enter any chamber that has the door closed, but is the door open you may look in.

Mayhap later, said Sandy, a little overwhelmed at the warmth of his reception – the icy gaze in those black eyes was quite salutory refreshing by comparison.

After supper, feeling in need of a few moment’s solitude, he said that he would go look at the paintings, no need to accompany him.

Some few of the doors were already closed, but there were paintings along the corridor, and he peeped inside the first open door he came to. The chamber was empty, though well-furnished, and he examined the painting, rather glad that he was alone, for he could still, he found, be brought to the blush.

There was a faint noise: he looked up, and saw Maurice Allard, in the act of closing the door.

He was about to say that he supposed that they could both maintain a reasonable cool civility to one another in public – for it looked as though that was the concern that Allard wished to disclose – and their eyes met, their gazes locked. And – oh, they had not exorcized that carnal urging, that furor, after all.

Some while later – sure these chambers were very well provided for their purpose – Maurice looked up and said, that was not what I intended.

I did not think it was. Will it be noted?

I am like to doubt it, providing we do not go downstairs together.

Well, I shall go down first, and say how very taken I was by the paintings, is that really the time, sure one might have supposed oneself frolicking with Dionysus in Ancient Greece – and then I shall go ask Chumbell about whether he considers them an accurate portrayal –

Do you do this sort of thing very often?

Seldom, said Sandy, but have long had the acquaintance of an entire mistress of the art of making people see what she wants them to see.

Maurice scowled at him. It was - endearing. Sandy kissed him and began to dress.

river ganseys

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:34 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
Penelope Lister Hemingway, River Ganseys: Strikin' t'loop, Swaving, and Other Yorkshire Knitting Curiosities Revived from the Archives (2015): the thesis that winds through it is that ganseys (a set of ways for making pullovers) are an emanation of the Industrial Age, late C18 into the English Regency. It needed better editing than its tiny indie press could offer. Half is heavily personalized historical overview---whenever we meet her ancestors in the historical record, she points it out even if there's no family account to add to what records indicate; half is howto.

On p. 70, near the end of a chapter on nineteenth-century knitting in Yorkshire schools, prisons, and homes, Hemingway implies that being taught to knit in school according to a curriculum is what led to holding the needles "British" style (I've always heard "English" and have no idea how Welsh, Scottish, Cornish, or indeed Manx knitters may have tended to position their hands). At home, she says, they'd probably continued the older manner of "holding needles under fists" and throwing the yarn "continental" style. Interesting, though because there aren't enough trappings of scholarly approach, I have no idea whether Hemingway was able/interested in scholarly due diligence....

She suggests that the cables aren't mirrored in ganseys because of an old fear of mirrored reflection; she describes green as the forbidden color on account of "creation/god" (p. 92), though I know it as fairy-color from medieval texts. (Or any number of other things, including Buchan's Witch Wood.) In any case, vanishingly few bird motifs on ganseys, either.

ObContemporaryRetake: Seascale and Ardmore fall into one basket; Rocquaine and Guernsey make another.
[syndicated profile] pameladean_feed

Posted by Fighting Crime with a Giant Dandelion Since 2013

This is very long and detailed, so I’m going to try to put in a cut tag.

All right, I can't get that to work, not if it was ever so. I'm sorry.

 

On Tuesday Raphael and I went to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. The forecast was for a sunny, almost windless day with a high of 87. The air quality was moderate. I complained about this the day before and Raphael asked if I'd prefer not to go. But Sherburne is actually a good place to go on a less than perfect day, because there's a seven-mile wildlife drive with stopping points for viewing whoever happens to be around; also a tiny oak savanna (1/10-mile loop) trail and a prairie trail with an oak grove in the middle with a bench (1/2-mile loop). And it's September; hiking season will be over at some point.

We got a late start but arrived with about five hours of daylight ahead of us. Sherburne is near Sand Dunes National Forest, and its soil is also sandy. It's a lightly rolling landscape full of marshes, pools, and prairie, broken by lines and clumps of trees. You drive through a short stretch of mature restored prairie to reach the actual wildlife drive. It was awash in blooming goldenrod and blue and white asters and rich brown grasses.

 We stopped at the Oak Savanna Trail and had a sandwich, read the list of plants presently blooming (six kinds of goldenrod, four kinds of white aster, two kinds of blue aster, rough blazing star, and boneset) and then walked out on the tiny boardwalk. We examined what looked like an abandoned bald eagle's nest through one of the spotting scopes provided, and then started looking at spreadwings (yet another kind of damselfly) in the tall grass that the boardwalk runs through.

 Here is an image of a spreadwing that one might see in Minnesota, though I don’t know if that’s what we did see.

 http://museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/Odonata/lere.html

 A flicker of motion in the distance caught my attention, and I looked up to see three sandhill cranes landing across the prairie near the road we'd come on. "A family," said Raphael, looking through the binoculars. "See the juvenile?" I did see the juvenile, which did not have all its red in yet but was almost as large as its parents. The cranes started walking through the grass, not unlike herons stalking through shallow water; occasionally they would bend their long necks down and poke around in the grass roots, and occasionally one of them would make a sharp dart and come up with food and swallow it.

It was hard to decide whether the cranes were more awesome through binoculars or just as tall shapes against the pale road and prairie, bending and straightening, wandering apart and together again. If you didn't look through binoculars you could also see meadowhawks darting around, the spreadwings rising to catch tiny insects and settling again to eat them, the unexpected wind shaking the oak leaves and the grass and the asters. From time to time a darner moved across the larger prairie, veering after prey or just powering along.

At last a truck came fairly fast along the road, raising a cloud of dust, and the cranes paused, considered, opened their huge wings and rose up, gawky but graceful, and flew away low over the grasses. We went back to looking at smaller wildlife

I was trying to spot a spreadwing through the binoculars when I saw what looked like an animated tangle of brown grass. I said to Raphael, “There’s some kind of mantis there!” and when Raphael expressed astonishment, I added, “It’s very stick-y,” which allowed Raphael to come up with the actual name: It was a stick insect. It took a few moments for me to describe its location and for Raphael to see it, and then I had trouble finding it again through the binoculars, but it was busy clambering around against the wind, so we did both get a good look at it. It was only the second stick insect I’d seen in Minnesota. The other was at Wild River State Park. That one was much larger and was rummaging around in a pile of leaves at the edge of the parking lot. This one was fascinating because its camouflage was so great, and yet it did have to move around, so you could differentiate it from the grass if you worked at it.

We’d arrived in the deep of the afternoon when smaller birds are quiet. We heard a few goldfinches murmuring, and a phoebe carrying on, and a chickadee. We left the boardwalk, admiring the asters waving in the non-foreseen but welcome breeze, and walked around the oak savanna loop. The little oak saplings tangled among the other shrubbery were already starting to turn red. White asters poked their flowerheads through leaves belonging to other plants, to startling effect. Autumn meadowhawks floated and hovered and darted, snatching up gnats from the clouds around them. We had seen a monarch butterfly in the asters while we were eating our lunch, and also a dark-phase swallowtail wandering over the grass; now we saw a painted lady butterfly.

We made an attempt to leave, but a darner landed on a drooping dead branch of an oak tree right in front of the car. The sun was behind it and we couldn’t get a good look without tramping heedlessly into the prairie, so we didn’t, but its silhouette was lovely against the brilliant sky.

 We drove on, past tall browning and reddening grasses, clumps of goldenrod, clouds of asters. Darners flew up from the sides of the road and zoomed away. We found at the turning that the refuge had reversed the direction of the wildlife drive since we were there last, which was momentarily confusing; but we found our way, and stopped at the Prairie Trail. I pointed out some thoroughly spent plants of spotted horsemint. We’d seen it in bloom, if you can call it that, at William O’Brien. It’s a very weird-looking plant. Here’s a photo:

 https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/spotted-horsemint

 This observation continued my inability to accurately provide the names of things; I’d just called it horsemint and Raphael reminded me that that particular weird plant was spotted horsemint. There are other horsemints, but they don’t look so strange. As we stood looking over the rise and fall of the little prairie, with folds of alder and sumac, and lines and whorls of different grasses and goldenrod, all truly starred with the blue and white asters, I said that I loved how big the sky was at Sherburne. Raphael noted that it was a slate-blue just now; we assumed that was the haze of the wildfire smoke all the way from the west coast, a somber reminder of far too many things.

 We took the grassy path, startling small grasshoppers out of our way and stirring up meadowhawks from the tall plants and shrubs. We saw a monarch; we saw a painted lady. Passing through a little grove of young alders, on almost every tip of the dead trees intermingled with the living there was a meadowhawk perched. They swept upwards, snatched a gnat or fly, landed to eat again. Raphael showed me how to identify a female autumn meadowhawk: they have a definite bulge just below the thorax, which was easy to see against the sky. Darners zipped past from time to time. If it was a green darner we could usually tell even from just a glance. The others were mosaic darners, but harder to identify in passing.

 I think it was as we approached the oak grove that we started seriously trying to identify the grasses. We’d known big bluestem, aka turkey-tail, for years. After seeing it labelled repeatedly here and there, I could pick out the charming clumps of little bluestem, just knee-high, with their pale fluffy flowers lined up and catching the light. We’d looked at an informational sign at the trailhead, but its drawings of Indian grass and switch grass didn’t look right. Raphael pulled up the photo of the sign about grasses at the visitor center at Wild River, which had struck both of us at the time as much more informative than other attempts to depict native grasses; and we could suddenly identify Indian grass after all. It has a long, narrow rich brown seed head with varying degrees of spikiness; some are quite streamlined and others are tufty and look as if they need combing. And we felt more confident about the switch grass with its airy spreading seed heads.

 Raphael pointed out a beetle on the path, maybe a Virginia leatherwing, and then realized that it looked like a moth. A little research when we reached the oak grove and sat down showed that it was a net-winged beetle, and the entry even mentioned that it looked quite a bit like a leatherwing.

 The bench we were sitting on was made from boards of recycled plastic. At some point Raphael had had enough sitting and went ahead a little way just to see what was there. I’d noticed when I sat down that there were verses from the Bible printed on the back of the bench in some kind of marker. On the left was the passage from Matthew that begins, “Come unto me you who are weary and heavy-laden,” and on the right the passage from John that begins, “For God so loved the world.” These might have been written in different hands. But the passage in the middle was definitely in a different hand, and began, “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine.” The ending of the passage was a bit smeared and I couldn’t read all of it, but at the bottom the name “hunter s. thompson” was clear enough. I followed Raphael and relayed the beginning of the passage. “Hunter s. thompson!” said Raphael, going back to the bench with me. “It’s from <i>Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas</i>.” Raphael looked this up too, and showed me the unsmeared passage on the cellphone.

 Giggling a bit, we went on our way. We were now well around the loop and into the straight stretch back to the car. From the other side I’d pointed out a lovely layering of grasses, goldenrod, a narrow cleft of willow scrub, and a candy-red line of sumac. Now we came to the sumac from the other side. On the path in front of us was a butterfly. “What is that?” said Raphael. “It’s a Red Admiral,” I said confidently, but it wasn’t. It was another Painted Lady. Raphael consolingly told me that they were both Vanessa, very closely related, but the Red Admiral is very common in Minnesota and I was chagrined that I’d misidentified something else as that.

 We came to a little stretch of boardwalk over a marshy area. On a shrub was a shimmery amber-tinged odonate. I pointed it out to Raphael. It turned out to be another autumn meadowhawk, though it looked as if it ought to be an Eastern Amberwing, or at least a Band-Winged Meadowhawk. It had perched on a bit of red-stemmed dogwood, just to be extra-cooperative. We went on through the cattails and willow, past a minute patch of open water and up onto the grassy path again. Raphael pointed out that where the path climbed back out of the tiny marsh there was a nice view over the rest of the open water and the winding marsh with more willow, and cattails, and a shrub we should have known but didn’t. (I briefly misidentified it as more red-stemmed dogwood, because it was my day to misidentify everything; but it had deep purple stems and leaves just starting to turn reddish.)

 On our right for the end of our walk was the brilliant sumac and the cleft of alder saplings, all their leaves fluttering and twinkling in the wind and sunlight; on the left a long slope of prairie grasses interrupted by goldenrod and asters. More darners sailed by. The sky had lost its smoky cast and was a fine late-summer deep blue. We came back to the car and Raphael began to drive away, but I exclaimed at the sight of a big clump of stiff goldenrod covered with pollinators. We didn’t get out, but looked our fill from the car. Big bumblebees, a Ctenucha moth, beetles, ambush bugs. Once Raphael started reading it, I had to edit this entry to correct the Ctenucha moth's name and type, so have another link, since they are very handsome:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ctenucha_virginica
 
There’s one more trail you can actually walk along, near the end of the wildlife drive, but there was a sign at the beginning saying that it was flooded. Before that we drove past long stretches of marsh, open water, and rolling prairie, all patched with clumps of trees. From time to time there would be a wider spot in the road, sometimes a formal space big enough for three or four cars, with a bench or two, or a platform over a low spot with spotting scopes and some informational signs about the wildlife; others just a metal platform with railings, where you could stand and look over the water. We tentatively identified the spot where we’d once common moorhens, which are not so common that we weren’t deeply excited. We’ve also seen muskrats and various ducks in these locations, and once there was a gigantic cloud of mosaic darners all brown and yellow – I seem to recall that some of them were lance-tipped darners, but I may be wrong. This time we heard water birds making a ruckus, but couldn’t see them. Darners came by in about the density that they had been all the while. Over one platform we saw what turned out to be a northern harrier; these guys have an amazing acrobatic flight, and they’re reddish on the underside and bluish on the back. I excitedly called this one a kestrel, which would be smaller and have the colors reversed: bluish on the underside and red on the back. We also very clearly saw a nighthawk with its white wing bars, though the sun was still up.

 We also saw some cedar waxwings fly-catching from a tree with a dead top, and heard a yellow warbler.

 At last we came to a stretch of water, islands, and snags so large that it had two separate viewing-spots. From the first we saw several groups of large white birds. I thought the first were swans, but they were white pelicans. There were also some swans, however. We came finally around a curve of the gravel road to an observation station in a little oak grove, overlooking the far side of this large sheet of water. This is where most of the dead trees are, and here, to our delight, we saw as we’ve seen before several times a very large number of cormorants. The sun was setting by then, off to our right. The sky was pink and the water reflected it. Many cormorants were roosting already, but some were still coming out of the water; they would land on a branch, sometimes settling and sometimes glancing off several different trees before finding one that suited them, or one in which the other cormorants accepted them. It was hard to be sure. Then they would spread their wings out to dry, looking as if they were practicing to be bats for Halloween.

 We found the swans and pelicans we’d seen from the other viewing station, though it was getting pretty dark by then. Cormorants still flew up into the trees and spread their wings. Through binoculars you could see the ones that had folded their wings now preening their breast feathers. Some of them had pale necks and brown fronts rather than being entirely black. I mentioned this to Raphael, who looked it up in Sibley and confirmed that those were juvenile cormorants.

 It was getting quite dark by then and the mosquitoes were starting to think about biting us in earnest. We drove past two more pools; beside one two groups of people we’d seen pass earlier, a third car I didn’t recognize from before, and a man using a wheelchair were standing and gesticulating. We pulled up and got out. The water and trees were lovely in the twilight, but we didn’t see any wildlife. The solitary man went away in his wheelchair, the unfamiliar car left, and we followed, watching the varied texture of the grass and flowers fade away into the dark.

 

Pamela

This entry was originally posted at http://pameladean.dreamwidth.org/187256.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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[personal profile] pameladean

This is very long and detailed, so I’m going to try to put in a cut tag.

All right, I can't get that to work, not if it was ever so. I'm sorry.

 

On Tuesday Raphael and I went to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. The forecast was for a sunny, almost windless day with a high of 87. The air quality was moderate. I complained about this the day before and Raphael asked if I'd prefer not to go. But Sherburne is actually a good place to go on a less than perfect day, because there's a seven-mile wildlife drive with stopping points for viewing whoever happens to be around; also a tiny oak savanna (1/10-mile loop) trail and a prairie trail with an oak grove in the middle with a bench (1/2-mile loop). And it's September; hiking season will be over at some point.

We got a late start but arrived with about five hours of daylight ahead of us. Sherburne is near Sand Dunes National Forest, and its soil is also sandy. It's a lightly rolling landscape full of marshes, pools, and prairie, broken by lines and clumps of trees. You drive through a short stretch of mature restored prairie to reach the actual wildlife drive. It was awash in blooming goldenrod and blue and white asters and rich brown grasses.

 We stopped at the Oak Savanna Trail and had a sandwich, read the list of plants presently blooming (six kinds of goldenrod, four kinds of white aster, two kinds of blue aster, rough blazing star, and boneset) and then walked out on the tiny boardwalk. We examined what looked like an abandoned bald eagle's nest through one of the spotting scopes provided, and then started looking at spreadwings (yet another kind of damselfly) in the tall grass that the boardwalk runs through.

 Here is an image of a spreadwing that one might see in Minnesota, though I don’t know if that’s what we did see.

 http://museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/Odonata/lere.html

 A flicker of motion in the distance caught my attention, and I looked up to see three sandhill cranes landing across the prairie near the road we'd come on. "A family," said Raphael, looking through the binoculars. "See the juvenile?" I did see the juvenile, which did not have all its red in yet but was almost as large as its parents. The cranes started walking through the grass, not unlike herons stalking through shallow water; occasionally they would bend their long necks down and poke around in the grass roots, and occasionally one of them would make a sharp dart and come up with food and swallow it.

It was hard to decide whether the cranes were more awesome through binoculars or just as tall shapes against the pale road and prairie, bending and straightening, wandering apart and together again. If you didn't look through binoculars you could also see meadowhawks darting around, the spreadwings rising to catch tiny insects and settling again to eat them, the unexpected wind shaking the oak leaves and the grass and the asters. From time to time a darner moved across the larger prairie, veering after prey or just powering along.

At last a truck came fairly fast along the road, raising a cloud of dust, and the cranes paused, considered, opened their huge wings and rose up, gawky but graceful, and flew away low over the grasses. We went back to looking at smaller wildlife

I was trying to spot a spreadwing through the binoculars when I saw what looked like an animated tangle of brown grass. I said to Raphael, “There’s some kind of mantis there!” and when Raphael expressed astonishment, I added, “It’s very stick-y,” which allowed Raphael to come up with the actual name: It was a stick insect. It took a few moments for me to describe its location and for Raphael to see it, and then I had trouble finding it again through the binoculars, but it was busy clambering around against the wind, so we did both get a good look at it. It was only the second stick insect I’d seen in Minnesota. The other was at Wild River State Park. That one was much larger and was rummaging around in a pile of leaves at the edge of the parking lot. This one was fascinating because its camouflage was so great, and yet it did have to move around, so you could differentiate it from the grass if you worked at it.

We’d arrived in the deep of the afternoon when smaller birds are quiet. We heard a few goldfinches murmuring, and a phoebe carrying on, and a chickadee. We left the boardwalk, admiring the asters waving in the non-foreseen but welcome breeze, and walked around the oak savanna loop. The little oak saplings tangled among the other shrubbery were already starting to turn red. White asters poked their flowerheads through leaves belonging to other plants, to startling effect. Autumn meadowhawks floated and hovered and darted, snatching up gnats from the clouds around them. We had seen a monarch butterfly in the asters while we were eating our lunch, and also a dark-phase swallowtail wandering over the grass; now we saw a painted lady butterfly.

We made an attempt to leave, but a darner landed on a drooping dead branch of an oak tree right in front of the car. The sun was behind it and we couldn’t get a good look without tramping heedlessly into the prairie, so we didn’t, but its silhouette was lovely against the brilliant sky.

 We drove on, past tall browning and reddening grasses, clumps of goldenrod, clouds of asters. Darners flew up from the sides of the road and zoomed away. We found at the turning that the refuge had reversed the direction of the wildlife drive since we were there last, which was momentarily confusing; but we found our way, and stopped at the Prairie Trail. I pointed out some thoroughly spent plants of spotted horsemint. We’d seen it in bloom, if you can call it that, at William O’Brien. It’s a very weird-looking plant. Here’s a photo:

 https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/spotted-horsemint

 This observation continued my inability to accurately provide the names of things; I’d just called it horsemint and Raphael reminded me that that particular weird plant was spotted horsemint. There are other horsemints, but they don’t look so strange. As we stood looking over the rise and fall of the little prairie, with folds of alder and sumac, and lines and whorls of different grasses and goldenrod, all truly starred with the blue and white asters, I said that I loved how big the sky was at Sherburne. Raphael noted that it was a slate-blue just now; we assumed that was the haze of the wildfire smoke all the way from the west coast, a somber reminder of far too many things.

 We took the grassy path, startling small grasshoppers out of our way and stirring up meadowhawks from the tall plants and shrubs. We saw a monarch; we saw a painted lady. Passing through a little grove of young alders, on almost every tip of the dead trees intermingled with the living there was a meadowhawk perched. They swept upwards, snatched a gnat or fly, landed to eat again. Raphael showed me how to identify a female autumn meadowhawk: they have a definite bulge just below the thorax, which was easy to see against the sky. Darners zipped past from time to time. If it was a green darner we could usually tell even from just a glance. The others were mosaic darners, but harder to identify in passing.

 I think it was as we approached the oak grove that we started seriously trying to identify the grasses. We’d known big bluestem, aka turkey-tail, for years. After seeing it labelled repeatedly here and there, I could pick out the charming clumps of little bluestem, just knee-high, with their pale fluffy flowers lined up and catching the light. We’d looked at an informational sign at the trailhead, but its drawings of Indian grass and switch grass didn’t look right. Raphael pulled up the photo of the sign about grasses at the visitor center at Wild River, which had struck both of us at the time as much more informative than other attempts to depict native grasses; and we could suddenly identify Indian grass after all. It has a long, narrow rich brown seed head with varying degrees of spikiness; some are quite streamlined and others are tufty and look as if they need combing. And we felt more confident about the switch grass with its airy spreading seed heads.

 Raphael pointed out a beetle on the path, maybe a Virginia leatherwing, and then realized that it looked like a moth. A little research when we reached the oak grove and sat down showed that it was a net-winged beetle, and the entry even mentioned that it looked quite a bit like a leatherwing.

 The bench we were sitting on was made from boards of recycled plastic. At some point Raphael had had enough sitting and went ahead a little way just to see what was there. I’d noticed when I sat down that there were verses from the Bible printed on the back of the bench in some kind of marker. On the left was the passage from Matthew that begins, “Come unto me you who are weary and heavy-laden,” and on the right the passage from John that begins, “For God so loved the world.” These might have been written in different hands. But the passage in the middle was definitely in a different hand, and began, “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine.” The ending of the passage was a bit smeared and I couldn’t read all of it, but at the bottom the name “hunter s. thompson” was clear enough. I followed Raphael and relayed the beginning of the passage. “Hunter s. thompson!” said Raphael, going back to the bench with me. “It’s from <i>Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas</i>.” Raphael looked this up too, and showed me the unsmeared passage on the cellphone.

 Giggling a bit, we went on our way. We were now well around the loop and into the straight stretch back to the car. From the other side I’d pointed out a lovely layering of grasses, goldenrod, a narrow cleft of willow scrub, and a candy-red line of sumac. Now we came to the sumac from the other side. On the path in front of us was a butterfly. “What is that?” said Raphael. “It’s a Red Admiral,” I said confidently, but it wasn’t. It was another Painted Lady. Raphael consolingly told me that they were both Vanessa, very closely related, but the Red Admiral is very common in Minnesota and I was chagrined that I’d misidentified something else as that.

 We came to a little stretch of boardwalk over a marshy area. On a shrub was a shimmery amber-tinged odonate. I pointed it out to Raphael. It turned out to be another autumn meadowhawk, though it looked as if it ought to be an Eastern Amberwing, or at least a Band-Winged Meadowhawk. It had perched on a bit of red-stemmed dogwood, just to be extra-cooperative. We went on through the cattails and willow, past a minute patch of open water and up onto the grassy path again. Raphael pointed out that where the path climbed back out of the tiny marsh there was a nice view over the rest of the open water and the winding marsh with more willow, and cattails, and a shrub we should have known but didn’t. (I briefly misidentified it as more red-stemmed dogwood, because it was my day to misidentify everything; but it had deep purple stems and leaves just starting to turn reddish.)

 On our right for the end of our walk was the brilliant sumac and the cleft of alder saplings, all their leaves fluttering and twinkling in the wind and sunlight; on the left a long slope of prairie grasses interrupted by goldenrod and asters. More darners sailed by. The sky had lost its smoky cast and was a fine late-summer deep blue. We came back to the car and Raphael began to drive away, but I exclaimed at the sight of a big clump of stiff goldenrod covered with pollinators. We didn’t get out, but looked our fill from the car. Big bumblebees, a Ctenucha moth, beetles, ambush bugs. Once Raphael started reading it, I had to edit this entry to correct the Ctenucha moth's name and type, so have another link, since they are very handsome:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ctenucha_virginica
 
There’s one more trail you can actually walk along, near the end of the wildlife drive, but there was a sign at the beginning saying that it was flooded. Before that we drove past long stretches of marsh, open water, and rolling prairie, all patched with clumps of trees. From time to time there would be a wider spot in the road, sometimes a formal space big enough for three or four cars, with a bench or two, or a platform over a low spot with spotting scopes and some informational signs about the wildlife; others just a metal platform with railings, where you could stand and look over the water. We tentatively identified the spot where we’d once common moorhens, which are not so common that we weren’t deeply excited. We’ve also seen muskrats and various ducks in these locations, and once there was a gigantic cloud of mosaic darners all brown and yellow – I seem to recall that some of them were lance-tipped darners, but I may be wrong. This time we heard water birds making a ruckus, but couldn’t see them. Darners came by in about the density that they had been all the while. Over one platform we saw what turned out to be a northern harrier; these guys have an amazing acrobatic flight, and they’re reddish on the underside and bluish on the back. I excitedly called this one a kestrel, which would be smaller and have the colors reversed: bluish on the underside and red on the back. We also very clearly saw a nighthawk with its white wing bars, though the sun was still up.

 We also saw some cedar waxwings fly-catching from a tree with a dead top, and heard a yellow warbler.

 At last we came to a stretch of water, islands, and snags so large that it had two separate viewing-spots. From the first we saw several groups of large white birds. I thought the first were swans, but they were white pelicans. There were also some swans, however. We came finally around a curve of the gravel road to an observation station in a little oak grove, overlooking the far side of this large sheet of water. This is where most of the dead trees are, and here, to our delight, we saw as we’ve seen before several times a very large number of cormorants. The sun was setting by then, off to our right. The sky was pink and the water reflected it. Many cormorants were roosting already, but some were still coming out of the water; they would land on a branch, sometimes settling and sometimes glancing off several different trees before finding one that suited them, or one in which the other cormorants accepted them. It was hard to be sure. Then they would spread their wings out to dry, looking as if they were practicing to be bats for Halloween.

 We found the swans and pelicans we’d seen from the other viewing station, though it was getting pretty dark by then. Cormorants still flew up into the trees and spread their wings. Through binoculars you could see the ones that had folded their wings now preening their breast feathers. Some of them had pale necks and brown fronts rather than being entirely black. I mentioned this to Raphael, who looked it up in Sibley and confirmed that those were juvenile cormorants.

 It was getting quite dark by then and the mosquitoes were starting to think about biting us in earnest. We drove past two more pools; beside one two groups of people we’d seen pass earlier, a third car I didn’t recognize from before, and a man using a wheelchair were standing and gesticulating. We pulled up and got out. The water and trees were lovely in the twilight, but we didn’t see any wildlife. The solitary man went away in his wheelchair, the unfamiliar car left, and we followed, watching the varied texture of the grass and flowers fade away into the dark.

 

Pamela

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:06 am
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] randy_byers !  Wishing you a magnificent day.

O17, "We Shall Not Be Moved"

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:46 am
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[personal profile] oracne
Last night, I visited the Wilma Theater for the first time to see the world premiere opera "We Shall Not Be Moved," which focuses on the violence that comes of racism, poverty, guns, and bigotry. It was intense, as you might imagine. It did not end well for anyone, though the ending is not entirely without hope. If you squint. I did not feel depressed afterward, perhaps because I had experienced all this as really good art and art uplifts. That sounds weird, but it's true.

Those of you in NYC, the show is going to be at the Apollo, and tickets go on sale next week, I believe.

There are two primary, opposing points of view: a Latina cop, and a group of teenagers on the run, looking for solutions through cryptic messages from the past (dancers in white sweats, notes dropped on the floor of an abandoned house). There are shootings. There's a school closing. There's a plot twist which I guessed pretty quickly but was still dramatically effective. There was a lot of really good singing and dancing, but not as much spoken word as I'd expected.

I'm not sure how I feel about a male countertenor (John Holiday) playing a trans boy, but damn was he a good singer. The bass (Aubrey Allicock) was also particularly fine, I felt (I have a weakness for basses, so caveat emptor). The bass did most of his second act singing while lying on the floor or propped in someone's arms, which was impressive.

I most loved the choral singing by the entire cast, as you might expect if you know me. My favorite solo was at the end, sung by one of the female dancers - I want to hear that piece again, several times; it was mesmerizing.

Music by Daniel Bernard Roumain, libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, choreography by Raphael Xavier and Bill T. Jones, directed by Bill T. Jones.

Presskit.

PhillyVoice article.

I got home about 11:30 pm, then had to shower and wind down, so I am pretty draggy at dayjob today. Our first choir rehearsal of the season is tonight, 7-9 pm. *blinks*
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Dear Hannah! I daresay you would know best, but you do not show at all, are you entire sure you are with child?

La, Maurice, I can assure you that women – most of 'em - know the matter’s afoot. At least once they have already been about the business a time or two. One does hear tales of young girls that did not realize their state, and women at a certain time of life that supposed ‘twas the climacteric come to ‘em.

He began to drape stuff around her and take measurements. If we gather it thus - you see? – makes a pleasing effect and none would suspect what lies beneath.

Mind you do not make it too fine – I shall not be about giving speeches the while, and going to as few meetings as I may. But one may not eschew all company, and there is the matter of village gossip.

He looked at her. It was entire pleasing to see such a happy young woman in his fitting-room. So many of the ladies who came to him had some matter that troubled them, or were discontent by nature, and even a little flattery, and dressing them very well, did not entirely soothe their spirits.

You manage matters 'twixt the pair of you very well: how is Miss Ferraby?

Entire well. We are indeed fortunate. But 'tis agreeable to come to Town and see family and friends. But indeed, I should ask is all well with you – Lady Bexbury said you had been having some little trouble?

Quite resolved, he said, greatly hoping that he was not the subject of conversation over that lady’s supper-table.

She said somewhat to the effect that 'twas indeed good of you to see me now you have so much business come upon hand now 'tis all remedied.

Sure, you are family.

Why, I am daresay there are those among our connexion would not wish make that acknowledgement, was all known.

Maurice looked at their reflections in the pier-glass. Provided, he says, one does not flaunt, maintains a due discretion, so that it does not have to be openly spoke and known about –

Hannah’s eyes met his in the glass. She did not need to voice her understanding.

Some moments later, while she was putting on her accustomed garments, she said, but really I do not understand why people make such a bother about it. So unnecessary. Sure society is very cruel to unwed mothers and their offspring, but one may see that there is some reason – may not be a good or charitable reason, but if 'tis not the fear of the fathers about bringing scandal upon them, ‘tis the more general worry that they may come upon the parish and cause expense and raising of the rates. She sighed. And at least one may talk of that, and say that that harshness causes unhappy women to destroy their infants, and make arguments for more humane treatment. But when something may not even be talked of –

He patted her shoulder.

After she had left, he scribbled down a few notes and sketches for the gowns he would have made for her, and then told Miss Coggin, the head of the sewing-room, that he would be going out. Did not have any ladies coming for fittings the afternoon; did any come in hopes – vulgar creatures, murmured Miss Coggin – she might go take their measurements and requirements and ask 'em to return once they had been given appointments.

She pursed her lips in the way he knew meant that she would bring any ladies that did so to a fine appreciation of the consequence of the establishment.

He set off on a journey he did not particularly want to take, but was to undertake a prudent matter to dispatch. He took a hansom cab to some distance from his final destination: for although the tavern he sought was not precisely within the notorious rookery of Seven Dials, it was on its border. He picked his way fastidiously along the streets, keeping his walking stick in his hand in a manner that suggested it might serve as a weapon as well as a fashionable accoutrement.

From long habit he looked about before entering the place. But it was very unlikely anyone who might recognize him would see him here.

Enquiring as to whether Nat Barron was on the premises, he was directed by a jerk of the thumb into a back room.

Nat was there among various members of his gang. One of whom – presumably a new recruit – said, 'ere, oo’s the pooff: earning himself a smack or two about the head from Nat. Show some respect, Maurie may look the gent but he’s an old friend.

Nat Bannon and Maurice clasped one another’s shoulder, looked into one another’s faces, and then Nat motioned him to sit down, pouring him a glass of the gin he kept for himself.

Got somebody that needs warning off? he asked.

Maurice shook his head. I think word has got about after making a few examples.

For what had gained him the position he now enjoyed at the club was this connexion that enabled severe warning to be given to any that used knowledge gained there for the purposes of extortion. In return, Nat acquired the good feeling of fellows in high places that might well be useful to him did necessity arise. 'Twas entirely mutually beneficial.

Pity, said Nat, as you see there are one or two fellows here would be the better of some occupation to work off their feelings.

Maurice took a sip of gin, and disclosed to Nat the recent trouble he had had.

Oh, and you want us to show this spying fellow the error of his ways?

Why, it might gratify my feelings did you so – Nat smiled and shook his head and says, talks as good as a play – but I thought, a fellow that has a memory like that, might be of use to you.

Nat nodded slowly. A good thought. You always did have that long view.

Maurice shrugged. If a long view was considering that luring fellows into alleys so that Nat and his boys could rob them was an occupation with a rather short future and like to end badly for him, whereas obliging gentlemen in comfortable indoor surroundings was not only remunerative but provided him with considerable insight into gentlemanly habits and behaviour, yes, he took the long view: and the even longer view had been completing his articles of apprenticeship. But he also made sure to stay on Nat’s good side. Passed on any useful gossip he learned from ladies in the course of his day, and had constructed this very beneficial alliance 'twixt Nat and the club.

Sure he owed Nat a considerable debt for the protection that in younger days his friendship had afforded an undersized pretty boy disinclined to the usual boyish pursuits and happier to play with girls.

May not linger, he said, but thought you should know of the fellow as soon as might be, before goes completely to ground.

Maurice walked to where he might find a hansom cab and directed it to take him to his lodging. Once there, he washed himself very thoroughly with the very expensive soap, to get rid of any lingering stink of Seven Dials before he went to the club, where he was bidden to a committee meeting to consider upon new members.

Smoothing pomade into his hair, he had the unwanted memory of a larger hand stroking it in a fashion it was entirely foolish to suppose affectionate, rather than the pleasure one might take in stroking a fine purring cat.

But that was past and done.

At the club he was ushered into the committee room. It was ever gratifying to him, even if these marks of respect were founded upon those early connexions.

Sir Stockwell sat at the head of the table; Chumbell at the foot; Colonel Adams, late of Bengal and with the most fascinating stories of dancing boys; Sir Hartley Zellen, whose fine looks were becoming a little florid, and his hair thinning; Terence Offerton; Lord Saythingport, that had a wife, an established mistress, and had at one time offered Maurice an establishment.

Ah, good, Allard, said Sir Stockwell. Mysell-Monting cannot come, but we have a quorum, nonetheless. Now, the matter of fellows we may solicit to join our number –

Various names were put forward, of whom Maurice knew little but any public reputation they had. Some former comrade of Adams in the East; a scholar known to Chumbell – a Cambridge man, but nevertheless a sound fellow, very sound; a naval officer acquainted with Sir Stockwell; a couple of young fellows in Saythingport’s set –

Sir Hartley cleared his throat. Has not the time come to consider MacDonald? he said. Sure it would have been somewhat vulgar to approach him very shortly after Lord Raxdell’s dreadful demise, but ‘tis nigh two years ago that the accident happened. An excellent fellow.

Is he not, replied Saythingport, given out most exceeding radical in his views?

Why, said Sir Hartley, he is a philosopher and will throw out a deal of hypotheses, but our set have always found him sensible and practical.

Is he not, squeaked Chumbell in great excitement, considered something of a classical scholar?

I would know nothing of that, said Offerton, but has quite the cunningest hand at billiards, next after Jacob Samuels.

Why, said Sir Stockwell, as to his abilities in classical learning, I was late conversing with Admiral Knighton, that says that his lady wife, that is known for her most remarkable unwomanly capacities in that sphere, holds him in quite the highest esteem. Also considers him a very clever fellow himself, that has a particular knack for sounding out mysteries.

Maurice felt his face settle into a mask as of one considering these arguments. 'Twould be entire vulgar to blackball MacDonald, that had done him such great service in his own difficulty. But one might confide that Saythingport, and possibly Adams, would do so.

But, when the balls for each candidate were tallied, there were no black balls for MacDonald.

Maurice’s heart sank.

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[personal profile] full_metal_ox posting in [community profile] metaquotes
[personal profile] sasha_honeypalm's musical tribute to Barbara G. Walker's (professionally published!) novel
Amazon:


Don't know much about history
Don't know much about theology
Don't know much 'bout how to write a book
Don't know how to cite the quotes I took
But I know all that I say must be true
And I know if you believed it, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much sociology
Don't know how to understand folklore
Don't know what a reference book is for
But I do know that one god is bad
And if we'd kept the goddess we once had
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don't claim to be a goddess
But I'm tryin' to be
For maybe if I'm a goddess, people
You'll all worship me.

Don't know much about history
Don't know much about technology
Don't know much...


[personal profile] rosepsyche's paean to the Power of Story is also quoteworthy:

I have to call "bull" on Antiope's reasoning that art and music are inferior because they are "not alive" for another reason. No, such creations aren't living, breathing things. However (and I apologize if this gets a bit corny), the best of them can seem as if they are alive, get us invested in their characters, have us cheering about their triumphs and crying over their tragedies. They are just as valuable in their own way for their ability to entertain, to inspire, to teach, to help us grow and develop by seeing the world from a new point of view, and I don't think anyone involved in creating them would appreciate being told that their work can never compare to something that was squeezed out of a vagina.


Context sporks the world's worst Wonder Woman fanfic.

note that sting!

Sep. 18th, 2017 04:20 pm
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[personal profile] manuleanders posting in [community profile] common_nature
I met this one on a walk the other day.

caterpillar
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
Silent movies are my jam. So I really, really loved the production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" I saw Friday night.

The stage background is plain white with doors at two levels. The upper doors open to reveal small platforms and/or stools, on which the singers stand (yes, they had safety belts). Animation was projected onto the background, and the singers interacted with it. Everything was in a very 1920s style, with touches of steampunk. The singers wore white silent film-style makeup. Spoken lines were replaced with intertitles (in the appropriate font, even!).

The best part was The Queen of the Night. The singer wore a tall headdress and makeup with a plain shift that concealed the rest of her body. Projections made her appear as a giant spider, the size of the entire background, prone to stabbing at Tamino with her stabby legs while he dashed out of reach. I also loved Papageno's animated black cat.

One update I really appreciated was that Monostatos, molestor of Pamina and chief of the slaves (this enlightened country has slaves?) was originally described as "a blackamoor." In this production, the tenor is instead costumed as Nosferatu, who leads a pack of wolves. Not only was it less skeevy, but it fit the theme.

A great start to my experience of the O17 festival, and the only non-premiere I'm attending. Tonight is "We Shall Not Be Moved," which will be very, very different from the Mozart.

Review at Bachtrack.

Broad Street Review.

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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Sandy found himself feeling curiously light-hearted. He had entirely expected to feel cast into the gloom and despondency that had ever followed his carnal engagements with Geoffrey Merrett, but somehow, yestere’en’s romp with Maurice Allard had quite disproved the Galenic maxim. There been, perchance, a lack of the constraint that afflicted him when 'twas a matter of fellows he had known since their youth, that had – he fancied – been wont to look up to him, considered him even in the light of a mentor: and it had rendered the undertaking somewhat shameless in its indulgence. He doubted not that 'twould be very hard to shock Maurice Allard in any matter of carnality, anymore than one could Clorinda. Well, he had done the deed, much to his astonishment, and it had been exceeding enjoyable, and he would never have to see Allard again, and there would certainly be no matter of languishing sad spaniel eyes gazing at him across a dinner-table anxious for a depth of affection he could not give.

Why, my dear, said Clorinda, pouring him coffee, you are very cheerful the morn.

Why, have we not succeeded in sounding out a mystery and bringing the matter to a most exceeding satisfactory conclusion?

'Tis so, and yet –

And yet - ?

La, I am a foolish fretful creature, but I wonder what that woman goes about now. Perchance one should go warn Miss Addington, lest she goes try her encroaching ways upon her.

Why, 'tis by no means like the time you were given out at Carlsbad when she behaved so shocking.

Indeed she is a soberer creature these days: and I confide she would go straight to Lady Jane and disclose the matter to her.

And ask whether she might send for the Admiral and his horsewhip, perchance!

Hector came in with a note upon a tray for Sandy, saying that the boy waited for a reply.

The sight of Geoffrey Merrett’s handwriting somewhat lowered his mood. He broke the seal. Why, he said, Geoff is back in Town and wonders am I free the e’en to dine at his club – I cannot recollect any other engagement and may as well get this over with –

He went to the desk, scribbled an acceptance, blotted, folded and sealed it and handed it to Hector, adding sixpence for the boy.

Why, my dear, you make a very hearty breakfast the morn, shall I ring for more muffins?

No, I have had an entire sufficiency, but might you oblige me with more coffee –

She did so, adding, and do you go out at all?

I had a purpose to work in the library if that is agreeable?

Entirely, if you do not mind me coming to and fro a little for books upon monasteries and monks and some general history.

You go write some tale on that topic?

Have some inclination to do so, 'tis very pleasing to feel a tale under my hands again. But Hannah will come look in at tea-time. Purposes stay at Raxdell House with her parents, that falls out well: might give her a little note for Seraphine, in case that minx – sure she is by now a deal too old to be named minx! – endeavours make trouble.

Indeed, 'twas being in that plot with Evenden brought about their ill-fated union, so that she might not turn evidence upon him, the wretch – but I cannot see it profiting her.

O, did she not ever quite feed upon spite and malice! But I daresay you will wish to see Hannah.

I am ever pleased to see Hannah.

Indeed, it was a very agreeable day: sitting in the library and Clorinda in and out and talking of monasteries: are there not, she asked, communities of monks now returned to English soil?

Indeed so: do you like, I might ask Father O’Donaghue of the matter when I go play chess with him, might take his mind off the state of Irish affairs.

'Twould be most exceeding kind.

And then having tea with dear Hannah, that was looking most exceeding well, but not yet visibly with child. Clorinda looked at her and said, La, these modern fashions, a lady may conceal a deal beneath 'em.

Hannah smiled. 'Tis sure a better thing than lacing very tightly to conceal one’s state. Tomorrow I go consult with cousin Maurice as to how to have my skirts cut so that they will disguise my condition until 'tis time for us to go into Shropshire.

Sandy reminded himself that he was entirely bound to hear occasional news of Allard from his relatives in and out of the household: had ever been the case and was no matter to be bothered about now.

He felt a curious shyness towards Hannah, that might be bearing his child, but as a result of the application of scientific ingenuity rather than the more usual means. But then she asked him about the works of Mr Dickens and the use of fiction to draw attention to social problems, and they were having one of their fine accustomed conversations.

All a deal more agreeable than the prospect of dining with Geoffrey Merrett. But he arrived punctual to the minute at Geoffrey’s club, and was shown to a discreet nook where Geoffrey was waiting, looking less agitated that Sandy had anticipated.

Dear fellow! Sit down. Have some of this excellent sherry.

You are in good spirits, remarked Sandy.

Why, I think that matters have come about so that the concern I had will have disappeared entirely.

Sandy sipped sherry and noticed that for all Geoffrey seemed so cheerful, his gaze was evasive and he did not meet Sandy’s eyes.

But he waited until they had been served dinner and the attendant had withdrawn before interrogating the matter further.

I think, he said, you had better tell me the all, nonetheless.

Geoffrey put down his soup-spoon, looked at Sandy, and sighed. You will think me the most wretched of fellows –

Sure I doubt that –

- but it came to pass that I entered upon a liaison with Lady Sarah Channery -

Why, you dog! (Sure it would have been entire improper and unkind to laugh.)

- which we conducted very discreet at her dressmaker’s – Madame Francine –

(Of course: Lady Sarah was a hanger-on of Lady Trembourne’s, would have been persuaded by her to patronize the latest sensation.)

- but then, the poor dear creature received a note demanding recompense in return for not communicating the matter to Sir Stockwell.

Sandy thought this over for a moment. Had it not been given out, when she married Sir Stockwell, that her portion was very small indeed, the Marquesses of Maldane having been pockets to let these several generations?

How might she pay – or was it supposed that you would cover the amount?

Geoffrey frowned. Why, one does not like to give in to extortion, so I advised her to write pointing out her position, and saying she needed time to go about selling jewels most exceeding discreet to raise the ready. And then hoped to lay the matter before your wisdom to see how we might proceed so as to scotch this snake.

But, Geoffrey went on, breaking into a beaming smile, one hears that Madame Francine has been shown up an entire imposter, and has closed up her establishment and disappeared. So we may suppose that she has entirely fled from the scene of her crimes.

I am like, mused Sandy, to wonder did she make it a common practice to exact this levy upon the ladies that made use of her discreet chamber? 'twould make it more understandable – for although Lady Sarah is not a wealthy lady, was she one among some several, I daresay 'twould all mount up into an agreeable sum.

Indeed she is not, poor soul. Has a decent allowance of pin-money, but bills go to her husband.

Sandy suppressed a snort of amusement at the thought – had it occurred to Geoffrey? – that dressmakers’ bills presumably included some disguised item for use of the discreet chamber.

Is Sir Stockwell a jealous husband? he asked, trying to recollect what he knew of the fellow. Held some post at the Admiralty, did he not?

Why, has not shown undue jealous in the past – indeed, somewhat neglectful I fancy, 'tis a great pity, entirely the sort of thing that disinclines one to matrimony, the sight of spouses that are entire indifferent to one another. But one may suppose that he would not desire to be given out a cuckold.

May be they have some understanding? But I confide that is she so worried about this attempt, cannot be so.

O, you mean like Lady Zellen?

Precisely so. I daresay Sir Hartley would not care for their matrimonial arrangements to be announced in the press, but has ever found it entirely to answer to have young fellows squire Lady Zellen around while he is about his other business. Why, did not your brother Eddy - ?

Oh, that was long since! Before he went rusticate in Herefordshire, marry Cissie, become the entire country squire.

Geoffrey began to recount various matters of family gossip, while Sandy determined that 'twould be reasonable to desire Clorinda to investigate whether any other ladies had been subjected to like demands, and who they were.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:08 pm
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to daisydeadhead!  Hope you managed to stay dry!

fiber monday

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:59 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
___Sand is shelved until my mother's cardigan has been finished. Having put myself more or less on deadline for my mother's cardigan and the pi shawl (how is the weather fall-like already?), I found the next day that I needed something more portable than a cardigan and less fussy than the pi shawl. (I worry that carrying the shawl around would fuzz up its yarn.) For back-to-school night I've cast on my sage/off-white Herbarium, and its one small ear will sit in a bag until the next time I need something easy. For back-to-school night I've also written a sentence about something I did in first grade (visit the local library once a week, every week) and drawn a quick picture to accompany it: minus ten potential knitting minutes. :P

(Who knows whether she'll even wear her cardigan---she hasn't worn the poncho that she requested and I knitted two years ago---but this pattern is loose enough to fit me, too, though the sleeves would be short. We currently wear the same storebought shirt size but with different proportions at each point. Anyway, Reason wants like burning to inherit this cardigan despite being too small for it now, and I've been bidden not to rip it back.)

I've realized that for the paired indigo-cochineal shawls, the two colorways are too similar to make the bicolor mosaic motif "pop" properly. There's a US source that sells both Hespa---though not in the colorways my mother has bought---and conventionally dyed Ístex. I've made my best guess at one skein for just the mosaic rows; the stripes that frame them can use the gifted yarn and be a bit patchy. My stash included a bit of Ístex einband already, so it was clear upon meeting the Hespa skeins that they use the same yarn base.

some things

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:26 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
* I may not have finished watching Damo, but parts of its soundtrack (and the Tearliner contributions to Coffee Prince's OST, esp. "Go Go Chan") have been great for lulling an overextended child to sleep. In infancy, the title track in its oboe-solo iteration; now, as long as I don't use it often, the semi-power ballad "Bi ga." heh. If the fingers slip in choosing a track, just catch "Fate" before it gets going---not so restful.

* A week after Irma had passed him, my father declared that all was well except for how much the media had lied to everyone to let supermarkets drive prices up for water and supplies. I informed him that he was lucky and changed the subject. His electrical power is still out, but somehow that has nothing to do with whether the radio's weather announcer lied.

#notalloctogenarians but they sure sound like five-year-olds sometimes. No doubt the contrast would be less inviting if I weren't able to compare numerous six- and seven-year-olds of my acquaintance favorably to my father, eh? I'm aware that sometimes people just never "grow up." He did; I remember. It's a blessing that he doesn't remember what he's lost and losing---that would be harder all around.

Meanwhile, the same phone chat made it clear that he's become able to sympathize with his incomplete picture of my health issues/concerns because partner has talked with him about them. Doesn't matter what I say. But I understand a bit better now how he failed to comprehend my mother's illness with Bell's palsy for two years, longer than most people suffer it, since she had no rest or help. Then they divorced, which should've happened sooner, and her life improved. That part is years and years ago, during my early twenties.
Crawl back under your rock of self-estrangement

* It is difficult to use the internet to research specific remedies and palliative measures (for me) without swimming forever amidst groundless hearsay. Bring back 1997. (Not really.)
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Maurice looked up from his desk, stretched and smiled. A deal of little notes from ladies desiring appointments; also a deal of notes from various hands previously employed by Madame Francine, that now found themselves out of a place. Well, with this sudden flurry of work, he would need more hands –

Though, looking over the little notes, he was not going to welcome the notoriously difficult and demanding Lady Trembourne back into his fitting room. No: he would send civil regrets that with the amount of business Mamzelle Bridgette had upon hand, they found themselves unable &C&C.

If he was going to deal with these matters, he should go out and provide himself with a pie or so to sustain him during the evening.

He ran down the backstairs and through the backdoor, and observed, at the corner of the alley, MacDonald in close discourse with a very young boy, concluding by pressing a coin into the lad’s hand.

MacDonald proceeded upon his way to the doorway.

Fond of little boys, are you? murmured Maurice, between a gratification at observing some fault in MacDonald, and a – disappointment? – that he did have some low vicious taste.

MacDonald turned a scorching glower upon him. A useful informant, he said. Perchance we might step in so that I may disclose the business?

Would be only a matter of minutes, Maurice considered, and led him up to the office where he had been about dealing with his correspondence.

MacDonald lounged against the doorframe, not coming wholly into the room, that was indeed more of a nook than a room. We now know who has been misappropriating your – notions – and conveying them to the so-called Madame Francine. There is a fellow comes several days of a se’ennight delivering what I am told are haberdashery matters, has been followed to her establishment and reported closeted there for a deal longer than any delivery business might take.

My thought was, he went on, that we should inform his employer about what he has been doing – for I daresay that has been about these matters at times when he was he was supposed to be employed about his licit business. But is not any matter one might readily bring to the courts.

I would suppose not. And Madame Francine is quite exploded?

Her place is locked and bolted, nobody there, has levanted no doubt, now she is known no Parisienne but a failed actress embroiled in scandal.

Well, thought Maurice, this was all a great relief, the difficulty had been resolved, his own business was looking in much healthier state, and he would no longer be obliged to have to do with MacDonald. In the normal way of things their paths were unlikely to cross –

Why, Maurice drawled, lifting his chin, drooping his eyelashes, tilting his hips, and generally conveying an air of lascivious invitation, sure I am most inestimable grateful to you –

(This would surely have MacDonald leaving most expeditious, perchance casting a puritanical frown over his shoulder as he left.)

He found himself slammed against the wall, a hand gripping the back of his neck, a mouth coming down hard upon his, and another hand making a very direct approach to his cock. Which he had been trying to ignore, for it had developed a habit of showing immense interest in this –

- really most exasperatingly attractive fellow that was quite entirely not his kind. And was not only, as he had previously ascertained, by no means a flabby scholar, but also larger than he was.

I apprehend, murmured MacDonald in his ear, that there is a discreet chamber about the place?

Maurice nodded. This way, he said, picking up the lamp and pausing only to take up a pot of cold cream as he led him there.

Leave the lamp on, said MacDonald. And take your clothes off. If we’re going to do this, let’s not fumble around like a pair of schoolboys.

He paused, watching as Maurice disrobed. Oh, he remarked, you must have been the model for Linsleigh’s Faun.

That was some while ago, said Maurice, when I was younger, was in considerable demand as a model. And are you going to keep your clothes on?

Certainly not. MacDonald looked about the chamber, and then removed his spectacles, placing them in a niche where they were unlikely to get knocked off. It seems to me, he went on, that there is a certain, ah, urge on both sides, even do we also find a considerable antipathy between us.

Are you going to philosophize, or are you going to undress?

I can usually contrive to both, said MacDonald with his transforming grin, and suiting action to words, but I wished to assure you that I shall not trouble you again, now this problem of yours is resolved. Do we indulge this curious mutual inclination I daresay the consummation will cause it to dissipate rather than linger.

There was a certain sense to that – not leaving a haunting curiosity. Maurice lay down on the bed and rolled over into a provocative pose. Entire ready to consummate, he said.

How impatient you are. MacDonald came over to the bed and sat down beside Maurice, stroking a finger down his spine. Planting a lingering kiss upon his shoulder. It was not what he had expected. Hands and mouth thoughtfully exploring, registering what Maurice particularly liked. It was by no means as he has anticipated – something more urgent, clumsier – and then considered, as far as he was capable of rational consideration, that MacDonald had resided for many years with his aristocratic lover under conditions that must have made for –

- this thoughtful appreciation, no need for haste -

Damn you, are you ever going to fuck me?

MacDonald paused. If that’s to your taste?

Very much so, muttered Maurice between gritted teeth. You will perceive that I have placed the cold cream close at hand.

Very prudent, remarked MacDonald, making liberal application of the same. Inform me do you wish me to stop or slow down.

The late Lord Raxdell had been widely famed for the excellence of his ton: clearly this had also manifested in the bedroom.

Maurice let out a groan – No! that did not mean stop! – but soon could do nothing but make incoherent cries and sobs until, at last, the act was completed.

He had not intended, not even expected, to lie curled in a comfortable embrace with the prickly and annoying Mr MacDonald.

Why, asked the latter in idle tones, do you put that awful greasy preparation on your hair? – wiping his hand upon the sheet.

'Tis neater, he said.

Hmmmm: Maurice did not know how MacDonald managed it but his very hmmmms seemed to speak: this one was perchance considering that Basil Linsleigh and others had painted him as an Indian boy or a faun or an Italian urchin or in other exotic roles, but never as African.

I suppose, said Maurice waspishly, aware of his cock once more manifesting a lively interest in MacDonald’s undoubted charms, that you are one of these manly fellows that will not concede to take the womanish part, but I observe that you have a fine stand upon you that I should be happy to take down in whatever other fashion you desire.

MacDonald laughed – No, I do not laugh at you, ‘twas an entire association of ideas of my own; but I assure you, I am not so manly a fellow as not to relish a fine rogering of my own arse, does the opportunity arise.

'Tis a most exceeding fine one, said Maurice, that I should hope to do justice to.

If MacDonald’s response was a measure to go by, he did indeed achieve that aim. Most unexpected.

At length they got up and dressed. MacDonald restored his spectacles to his face. For a moment Maurice was greatly tempted to invite him to join him in dining at the local chop-house: but even did MacDonald agree, that really would not do. They had gratified this strange mutual urge and their paths were unlike to cross again.

MacDonald smoothed his disordered hair, and said, is there anything further to communicate concerning this matter, I confide I may do so by way of Lady Bexbury.

Indeed, will entire answer.

They looked at one another. There was nothing to say. MacDonald shrugged awkwardly, and turned to go.

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Sep. 16th, 2017 04:33 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] imnotandrei !  Hope the day is pleasant.

In Memoriam

Sep. 16th, 2017 04:10 pm
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[personal profile] onyxlynx

Yahrzeit

Sep. 16th, 2017 04:05 pm
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Yahrzeit.

12 years.
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

This note just came for you, said Hector as Sandy entered the house.

Sandy looked at it: Geoffrey Merrett’s unmistakeable hand. He broke the seal and discovered that Geoffrey was exceeding desolated to have to cry off from dinner the e’en, but had been called away very sudden about a case. Still had a matter he greatly desired to open to Sandy, so would solicit his company so soon as he had returned to Town.

Sandy felt relieved. He had not been particularly looking forward to dining with Geoffrey, even was it at his club rather than in his chambers. Geoffrey was surely all that was eligible: intelligent, discreet, well-bred, handsome, and remarkable apt at amorous sport, indeed one might make some lewd jest about the lawyerly agility of his tongue. And yet –

My dear! called Clorinda from the parlour, sure I have the most remarkable intelligence to convey to you.

He went in and saw Clorinda looking exceeding merry in her wonted chair by the fire.

Dearest sibyl, you look most exceeding cheerful, considering that, as I apprehend, you made your first visit to Madame Francine today.

Clorinda laughed quite immoderately, and said, Madame Francine! Who do you suppose she really is? – why, Fanny Minton, Gaffney, Evenden, a second-rate actress, alleged bigamous wife to a second-rate tragedian, and divorced wife of a chymical professor. Indeed any who knew aught of style might have seen already that she had not had her training in the art of dress in Paris, or even some more provincial spot in France, and really, one could readily observe that she had no notion of the business at all.

Sandy sat down vis-à-vis and accepted a cup of tea, raising his eyebrows.

One could not help noticing before even visiting her establishment that although the gowns created by Madame Francine’s workshop use the very fine notions devized by Maurice, she had no apprehension at all of how to use 'em –

She smiled across at Sandy. Oh, my dear, I know you consider dress a matter of entire frivolity and look forward to that time when we all go clad in garments of utilitarian simplicity, but as life in society is at present constituted, 'tis a matter of some import to ladies to be well-dressed. And that means, in such fashion that a lady is not give out a dowd, is garbed appropriate to the particular occasion, and in a style that is becoming to her. It quite entire maximizes felicity.

Why, I will concede to your understanding of the matter –

'Tis exceeding kind of you to listen to such a silly creature on such a trivial subject! But Maurice, as Biddy was wont, ever matches particular notions to particular ladies and the style that best suits 'em, 'tis not about applying some cut or trim wholesale but in a discriminating manner. 'Tis a precept in the philosophy of dress that the quondam Miss Minton has failed to grasp: I daresay she does not read Sheba’s fine thoughts upon the subject in The Intelligencer. Also I confide she does not have that understanding of the craft that would permit her to direct the hands she employs to the achievement of a better end: Docket would have expressed herself most severe about the finish of her gowns.

But did she not recognize you?

O, I daresay! But I confide that she imagined that she was entire disguised from any former acquaintance – sure one must suppose her entire misled by the conventions of the stage concerning masquerades – has put on a deal of flesh, though was ever of a plump figure, would not have shown well as Rosalind or Viola, her hair is grey and she goes wear a large and concealing cap and green spectacles. I confide there is also some little matter of paint &C; but really, she does not come about to fool me. But indeed, I managed to conceal any start of familiarity and do not think she suspects that I have found her out.

Why, this is excellent fine news, said Sandy. I still have my acquaintance in the scandalmonging press – for I do not think this is matter for the sober pages of the Intelligencer, do you, unless Tibby might have somewhat to say to it? – and something very telling might be done concerning a failed actress that is most exceeding unrespectable, cast out even from Yankee society that is known a deal less discriminating than our own, divorced for adultery, and has gone put on a very mediocre performance in the character of a Parisian modiste, that has yet deluded a considerable number that go chase after the latest fashion –

Dearest Sandy, you should write novels!

He glowered at her. One might also bring in the stealing? – though, indeed, I am inclined to continue pursue that matter to sound it out further, for it may be some rogue that even is this lady’s game up, will be about hawking stolen notions about other dressmakers, rather than throw it upon the table just yet.

Tis a good thought, can you come at it.

'Twas the business I wished convoke with Matt Johnson about.

Clorinda blushed a little. It so perchances that he comes take a little supper with me the e’en: I confide that you are out, but I am like to suppose that Matt will still be here at breakfast time, did you wish join us.

He smiled at her affectionately. Why, you are still entirely Venus’s votaress, I apprehend. And would it not embarrass either of you, Geoff has been obliged to cut our dinner so I am quite at your disposal.

Why, I will go at once to Euphemia and tell her that you go sup with us.

Well, thought Sandy, Miss Minton – Mrs Evenden? – how did one even style the lady, if lady she might be called.

He went to change, and upon returning to the parlour, found Matt Johnson already seated beside the fire gossiping with Clorinda. They shook hands.

After some general exchange of news, and after Euphemia had brought in a very fine supper, Sandy asked Matt whether he still had any band of juvenile Runners, such as he had been used to employ to follow suspicious persons, themselves quite unsuspected: or rather, suspected to have a mind towards their preys’ purses or watches, rather than where they went and who they spoke to.

Why, you know that these days I conduct a business in private enquiries - I daresay all these new ideas of policing and detection are very fine, but I am too old a dog by now to learn their new tricks –

O poo, murmured Clorinda, do I not hear of fellows from among the peelers that come lay their difficulties before your wisdom and experience in running down malefactors?

Oh, there are one or two young fellows that were of my juvenile Runners once, like to make the old fellow feel of use. But sure I still find certain young creatures of the greatest utility in tracking and spying.

Sandy opened to him the matter of the various persons that were to and fro to Mamzelle Bridgette’s to deliver or collect, and whether any of them might be taking stolen notions to Madame Francine. There were some two or three that were quite regular callers, he had come to discover from Tibby, that would be the first to look closely at –

Shall be about it directly.

'Tis exceeding good of you, said Clorinda.

The conversation turned to other matters.

It's Opera All the Way Down

Sep. 15th, 2017 08:42 am
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[personal profile] oracne
Time for the O17 Festival! I am not going to everything, but I'm going to a lot.

Tonight: The Magic Flute - The innovative production from Komische Oper Berlin presents Mozart's The Magic Flute in a style that evokes a meeting between 1920s silent movies and David Lynch, with the singers performing amidst fanciful animated projections. Also, the women in the chorus get to be in drag for part of it, complete with top hats and beards, which I know because all my buddies were posting pictures of their makeup on The Book of Faces.

Monday, 9/18: We Shall Not Be Moved, world premiere - Acclaimed composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph team up with legendary director Bill T. Jones to present the World Premiere of We Shall Not Be Moved, a genre-defying chamber opera combining spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility. This is the one related to the In/Sung event I went to last Saturday.

Thursday, 9/21: Elizabeth Cree, world premiere - Composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, the team behind 2012’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night, return to Opera Philadelphia for the World Premiere of a chamber opera based on Peter Ackroyd’s novel, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree. One of my choir friends has a small named part.

Sunday, 9/24: Wake World, world premiere - Opera Philadelphia Composer in Residence David Hertzberg transforms the renowned Barnes Foundation with the World Premiere of The Wake World, a site-specific, one-act opera inspired by Dr. Albert C. Barnes’s famed collection and the works of mystical 19th century British poet Aleister Crowley. This one has a lot of cool chorus work.

I also slide in a Saturday day trip to NYC to see the premiere of Brown Girl Begins, a movie from the first part of Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring.

See you all on the other side.
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[personal profile] spikedluv posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo

(Credit: multi-screencap)

We may not get more Jude | Zero | Zude in canon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get them in our fic/art/vids! This round of Team Zude Comment!Fic & Art Fest is for virtual season four-related prompts where Jude and Zero are both still on the show.

Leave a prompt in comments to this post at [community profile] team_zude. If you find a prompt that you like, go ahead and fill it!

The Fest will run for ~6 weeks, beginning today, Friday, September 15th, and running through midnight Tuesday, October 31st. See the post linked above for more information.
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

How now, Allard! cried Terence Offerton as Maurice entered the club. Linsleigh’s paintings at last grace the walls of the supper-room, very fine stuff, though sure I know nothing of art. Or indeed of the Ancient Greeks. But they look exceeding well, though a deal chaster than the ones that hang upstairs.

Why, 'tis about time, has been labouring over 'em these months.

Indeed so. Was wondering whether I might get him to come paint some of my fine creatures, but indeed he takes a deal of a time over his business.

Maurice, who had, over the years, posed some several times for Basil Linsleigh, sighed and concurred. Basil was a handsome fellow and, to Maurice’s somewhat untutored eye, a fine artist, but he was in no requirement to make a living at the matter. So was able to spend months if not years labouring over large canvases of mythological and historical subjects, representations of scenes from literature (Maurice had first posed for Titania’s Indian boy, many years since) and suchlike. Occasionally he sold one.

He asked Offerton how he was doing this racing season. Offerton sighed and said, sure you cannot have any more trouble with fashionable ladies and their whims than I do with my cattle. Showing very poorly at present: one greatly misses Penkarding’s advice in such matters.

A great loss, Maurice agreed.

Though the grey mare was reckoned to have the greater wisdom of the two of 'em. There was a fine woman. He sighed, clapped Maurice upon the back, and said he would not detain him longer from the sight of the paintings.

Maurice therefore felt obliged to go to the supper-room (where supper was just being laid out) and discovered there Basil Linsleigh, gazing upon his paintings with a ferocious scrutiny, doubtless endeavouring to determine whether they were hung as well as might be.

Maurice! cried Basil, flinging an arm about his shoulders, tell me, do you think this is in entirely the best light?

There were two exceeding large canvases placed vis-à-vis upon the walls of the room. One displayed fellows that were presumably Ancient Greeks entire decorously draped and reclining about a supper-table; the other displayed what might perchance be the same fellows, hardly draped at all and about wrestling in the open air.

Why, Linsleigh, said Chumbell, a short stoutish fellow with spectacles that was given out a very learned don at Oxford, indeed you have hit off that combination of philosophical symposium and physical prowess that was the ideal of the Athenians. 'Tis an excellent conceit. And yet, what I should like to see is those philosophers that engaged in discourse in the agora while the fine manly exercizes were going on.

'Tis indeed a notion, said Linsleigh.

Maurice dragged his mind away from uninvited thoughts of the philosophical Mr MacDonald wrestling in a state of nature, as Basil was saying something to him while Chumbell went up to the fellow that was serving, perchance to find out what was for supper, and perchance with some other purpose. Indeed the club livery showed off manly charms very effective.

I’m sorry, said Maurice, was quite absorbed in studying the picture, did not hear you.

Basil expatiated upon certain effects he had achieved, and then said, but, my dear, I should be very pleased might we dine privately – had a matter I wished to open to you.

Maurice’s heart sank a little. Surely Basil was not going to open to him yet again the prospect of living together? But he could think of no civil and agreeable way of refusing, and perhaps 'twas some other business.

So they went to one of the small side rooms apt to the purpose, and Basil ordered wine, and dishes were laid upon the table and they were left in discreet solitude.

After a polite exchange of civilities, during which Maurice felt himself obliged to evade any mention of how very troubled he was at present, Basil laid down his fork, took a drink of wine, and said, 'tis exceeding gratifying, I find myself with some very agreeable commissions on hand, but I come to the realization that I am a sad careless fellow. There are so many matters of business that must be dealt with, most tiresome. Alas that I may not marry myself to such an excellent fine useful wife as Raoul de Clérault has – quite entirely takes all that side of the matter from him, leaves him free to paint - is she not some relative of yours?

We are cousins.

But it occurred to me that – sure I quite saw the force of your objections to coming live with me in the capacity of a model, though you were, indeed you still are, a very fine one – but did you come in the relation of a man of business, that would handle my commissions, go deal with canvas-stretchers and frame-makers and colour-men, keep the accounts &C, could be no objection at all.

Maurice put down his own glass. Dear Basil, he said, I am entire flattered by your notions of my capacity but I have a business to run myself, cannot leave it.

Why, said Basil with a frown, should have thought you would be glad to leave such a position – must be entirely ennuyant dealing with the whims of fashionable ladies, managing a crowd of seamstresses, &C, quite a miasma of feminine vapours.

Maurice put down the knife and fork he had just taken up, lest the shaking of his hands be noticed. It was clear that Basil had no notion that he might enjoy what he did, even without the loyalty he owed to Biddy. He also had no apprehension that what Maurice did might in its own way be an art. Or that, although he would not disclose confidences, he picked up a deal of very useful gossip.

But, thought Maurice, it would be exceeding imprudent to make a blunt refusal. If this matter of Madame Francine and the loss of his business was not resolved –

Why, he said mildly, I will think upon it. Mayhap speak to cousin Phoebe. But 'tis not a time when I might just walk out from my present place, with the Season so soon upon us.

The sentiment does you entire credit. 'Tis entirely that sound prudent attitude of yours that I should require: you know what a sad feckless fellow I am.

Maurice smiled politely, for it would hardly be in good ton to say that Basil had never been obliged to be otherwise, with his wealthy family that thought it gave them considerable consequence to have a dilettante artist among their number. He was not obliged to live by his art. An entirely different position to that of Raoul de Clérault, whose family had stood upon their ancient French aristocratic lineage, considered being an artist barely better than being in trade, and cut him off quite entirely for marrying Phoebe.

His heart sank as he observed Basil looking somewhat languishing at him across the table. Over the years there had been many mutually pleasant passages between them, but this particular evening he was by no means inclined to amorous activity.

My dear, alas, I cannot linger the e’en: just looked in for an hour or so – was that almost a pout upon Basil’s handsome features? – but 'twas most agreeable to see you and that your paintings are now hung.

He had, in fact, intended to spend the evening at the club. But he would rather spend a lonely night in his lodgings than have to continue to pretend to Basil that all was well with him.

reading wednesday

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:29 pm
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, by Emma Marris. Marris's prose is just pedestrian, neither delightful nor efficient, but it covers the ground she wants to cover, which is intensely interesting to me.

Coincidentally, I just read two links from [personal profile] forestofglory on this topic:
http://edgeeffects.net/uw-arboretum-prairie/
Knowing Prairies, a short graphic essay (like graphic novel, but nonfiction and short) about prairie restoration: what it means, how possible it is, what it is worth. "When I visit the first restored prairie, I don't see a time machine nor a fake nature. Instead, I see a place altered by people negotiating their relationship with the natural world."

and http://uncannymagazine.com/article/packing/
"Packing", by T. Kingfisher, a short story about choosing which species we're going to save.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Beloved, by Toni Morrison, for Classics book group.

I thought this would be a bit easier to read the second time, but it wasn't. It was good to talk about at book group though. I really like the faculty sponsors and the grad student who lead this discussion.
She shook her head from side to side, resigned to her rebellious brain. Why was there nothing it refused? No misery, no regret, no hateful picture too rotten to accept? Like a greedy child it snatched up everything. Just once, could it say, No thank you? I just ate and can't hold another bite?[....]I don't want to know or have to remember that. I have other things to do: worry, for example, about tomorrow, about Denver, about Beloved, about age and sickness not to speak of love.
But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day[....]Other people went crazy, why couldn't she? Other people's brains stopped, turned around and went on the something new, which is what must have happened to Halle. And how sweet that would have been[....]

I'd like to reread The Fifth Season and think about how it relates to Beloved.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, for Graphic Novel book group.

(no subject)

Sep. 14th, 2017 03:18 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
Saving to read later, Krebs's take on the Equifax security breach

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/09/breach-at-equifax-may-impact-143m-americans/

Accomplishments This Week

Sep. 14th, 2017 02:25 pm
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
1. No gym on Friday, because I'm going to see "The Magic Flute," so I made sure to do both weight-bearing and cardio last night.

For weight-bearing, I did sets of twelve pushups and lunges and tried a new thing for my back muscles, which was pulling myself on a mat using my forearms. I did some ab stuff as well, though not as much as I'd planned. For cardio, I did intervals on a bike as well as trying out the new "Jacob's Ladder" climber machine; I didn't go very fast or very long, but twice got my heart rate up high. I plan to try that machine again.

2. Today, I got a flu shot, and my arm already hurts.

3. I paid my choir dues. Rehearsals start on Tuesday.

4. I bought four concert tickets for Tempesta di Mare, all for 2018.

5. I got a haircut.
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Sandy returned to Clorinda’s house from an afternoon of agreeable exercize upon Lord Abertyldd’s tennis court – a fine contrivance for those seasons of the year when the weather was such as to preclude a round or two of golf, and only the hardiest would dare swim - to discover that had been a day for her to receive callers, that were, fortunately, upon departing.

Hector was just assisting Susannah Wallace into her outer garments.

Mr MacDonald! You must come take tea some day very soon, there are a deal of matters going forward in Parliament I should desire your thoughts upon.

That would be entire delightful, Lady Wallace.

And might I beg you to use your influence to persuade dear Clorinda to resume her soirées? I cannot believe that she judges the matter justly when she claims that they would be stale old matter, that the younger set might attend as if they viewed a cabinet of antiquities.

Why, have I not encountered several of the younger set talking of her famed soirées with great interest, regretting that there is nothing quite of the same kind these days?

Of course, she went on, there would be those very greatly missed from our former number, but she has such a talent for the thing –

Well, I will do what I can to persuade her.

Indeed he wondered if Clorinda could bring herself to resume holding the soirées that had begun, well before her elevation, with a view to promoting Josiah Ferraby’s interests in Town.

He looked at Hector.

Lady Wallace was the last to leave, he said.

So Sandy entered the parlour in confidence that he was not intruding upon a ladies’ tea-party and gossip-exchange, and found Clorinda seated by the fire, reading a letter.

My dear, there is a note for you came while you were out, upon my desk.

He picked up, saw the handwriting, and sighed. 'Tis Geoff Merrett’s hand am I not mistaken, he said, breaking the seal. Invites me to dine – oh, at his club -

La, my dear, you may take it he has no designs upon your manly virtue, then –

Sandy glowered at her briefly and looked back at the note. Has a delicate matter wishes open to me.

I wonder what that might be, murmured Clorinda. Some family matter perchance? – surely cannot be that he at last goes wed. But, my dear, I have not told you the news that comes in this letter from that excellent woman that married Reynaldo di Serrante, the fair Quakeress Priscilla.

He sat down vis-à-vis and said, tell on. I hope Reynaldo has not been getting himself into trouble as a fiery abolitionist agitator.

Mayhap and perchance! For she writes that he goes a-traveling into those benighted regions of the country, without her, and meanwhile she goes visit family connexions in Philadelphia –

Ah! And do her connexions have aught to do with the university?

Most assuredly they do, excellent learned people I apprehend and entire devoted to abolition. And not at all give to gossip, but somehow she has been brought to an understanding that there is a considerable degree of scandal attaches to Professor Evenden. Sure he is agreed a very clever learned chymist, and his discoveries and the patents he has upon 'em assure him a fine independence; but quite shockingly, he is known to have divorced his wife, that was rumoured to have been on the stage afore their marriage, for adultery and desertion. Are we, my dear, in the least surprized that the quondam Miss Minton, or mayhap Mrs Gaffney, levanted?

Why, only to be anticipated, for sure.

As a result, is said to have become almost a recluse but for the discharge of the duties of his post. Clorinda sighed. Is he so, most like he has happily no intention to return to these shores.

We may hope so.

But I wonder what became of her: went become a strolling player in those parts, perchance. I did mention the matter to dear Miss Addington a little while ago, that has heard nothing of her from any that have tried their fortunes over there: but added that mayhap she had changed her name yet again, and most of those that have lately been there are not of an age to remember her and recognize her did they see her.

Found some other fellow might be beguiled into wedlock, mayhap.

They looked at one another. Well, said Clorinda, I think we find ourselves at stand in that investigation at present. But I remain in some concern, for Julius begins make a considerable name for himself, is a son any man might like to own now 'tis entire clear what credit 'twould do him.

Yes: Evenden is a fellow would take the credit for himself, rather than put it down to capacities inherited from Seraphine, and the fine training he received from Roberts, that has ever been most entire fatherly to him.

Clorinda gave a wicked smile. That minds me, do we converse of fatherhood, that Hannah comes to Town shortly –

Is’t not imprudent of her to travel at this time? asked Sandy, finding himself curiously agitated in the matter.

O, poo, 'tis still early on, has not yet quickened, feels herself entire well. But indeed, my dear, your concern does you credit.

Well, 'tis a thing I never anticipated would come to me.

Clorinda smiled at him. Let me distract your mind, she said, by talking a little of how I get on in our other investigation. Have disclosed to Madame Francine my intention to go be dressed by her, and had a note back, very high and mighty, I see she purposes display her consequence, declaring she has a deal of business upon hand and can only just find time to fit me in within this se’ennight. 'Twould not, I confide, have been so was Docket still alive, 'twould have been entirely at your convenience, Lady Bexbury. She pulled a face. Sure I lose consequence.

Perchance, said Sandy, this modiste is ill-acquainted with the leaders of fashion.

Dear Sandy, 'tis kind of you to say so, but while I ever had the most useful advice on style from Milord, that was one of those interests of his you did not share, and I must confess that I would not entirely trust your judgement in such matters.

Dearest sibyl, you are entire right that I know little of the matter, but I have every confidence that you are still one of the most fashionable ladies in Town.

O, poo. But, my dear, surely 'tis time you went dress for the theatre?

Sandy groaned. I have the lowest possible hopes of this play.

'Tis the harsh lot of the critic. Euphemia has put you up a little light supper, so that hunger does not render you too ferocious critical.

He laughed, and went to change and to eat the very excellent little supper Euphemia had put ready for him, and went to the theatre, and tried to keep his mind upon the play, but indeed it was sorry stuff, even had he not had other thoughts upon his mind.

Later, lying in bed, sleepless, he found his mind turning to ways in which he might pursue the present investigation while encountering Maurice Allard as little as possible. And yet –

If he did not mince and prance, neither did he screech. Sure his voice was pitched somewhat high, but entirely mellifluous: and he spoke well.

Sandy could not keep denying to himself those sudden urges to push the fellow up against the wall, kiss those full lips, and make himself a good deal better acquainted with that slender body. And if Allard was not the kind of man he had ever supposed to his own taste, that was not wonted behaviour of his own either.

He wondered what Clorinda would say did he open the matter to her: la, my dear, you have lived quite like unto a monk since you gave Geoffrey Merrett his congé; and then either consider upon their acquaintance to see were there any fellows of the disposition to whom he might incline, or go about to find out about the entrée to that certain club.

It was really very tempting to resume the liaison with Geoffrey. However, Universal Law would suggest to the contrary. He could not bring the mutual devotion he apprehended Geoffrey would desire.

loneliness be over, when will this

Sep. 13th, 2017 08:45 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
Ha Jin, A Map of Betrayal (2014): it was on the virtual endcap; the OverDrive landing page for one of my near-enough library systems featured it. Um. The novel opens with a fifty-something professor who uses a Fulbright term in China to investigate and reconstruct her dead spy father's first marriage. The narrative splits most chapters in two---first father, then daughter---though the whole thing struggles to avoid protracted didacticism. On one hand, it's a great opportunity for historical analysis as well as a good puzzle: how do you write a fictional secret history of a topic about which most readers know less than nothing?

On another hand, I agree with this stranger, who seems to have a stronger basis than I for similar views: the whole undertaking in which Lilian uncovers her father's past by talking with random Chinese people to whom she is introduced hopscotch-wise is a crock. Read more... )

Unlike the linked reviewer, I like father Gary's unsympathetic nature, one of the few things that gels for me here. War and spying are hard. Books need antiheroes sometimes.

Book of Athyra / 500 Years / Dragon

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:38 am
jazzfish: book and quill and keyboard and mouse (Media Log)
[personal profile] jazzfish
The Great Big Dragaera Reread, part 3

The Ace books have decidedly Aged Well, which is always a pleasant surprise. The treatement of Easterners feels remarkably relevant and contemporary (at least, so saith this white dude), and the sense of having wandered into someone's high-powered D&D game doesn't persist past Jhereg, or maybe Yendi. I'd definitely recommend them.

Athyra, Orca, FHYA, Dragon )

Requiescat in Pace

Sep. 13th, 2017 08:54 am
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
Edith Windsor,
Ultimately, the opinion in Windsor's case became the basis for a wave of federal court rulings that struck down state marriage bans and led to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry from coast to coast.
ETA: Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Sep. 13th, 2017 07:33 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] madshutterbug !    Hope you're OK and that you and yours are drying out.

Outlander Forum!

Sep. 13th, 2017 08:59 am
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[personal profile] jo posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo
Now that season 3 is underway, come join us at [community profile] outlander_forum , a discussion community for fans of the Starz TV adaptation and/or Diana Gabaldon's books. We've already got a discussion of episode 301 underway, so come and join in!!



Wednesday Reading

Sep. 13th, 2017 08:41 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
A chunk of last week's reading time was taken up by my review book, but I also have some fanfiction recs!

Beyond Belief by thingswithwings crosses over Agent Carter with Wonder Woman, and there is action, and lesbian shenanigans, and heading off into the sunset together. More like this, please.

Season Tickets by shuofthewind is an X-Files AU in which Darcy Lewis is Mulder and Matt Murdock/Daredevil is Scully from S.H.I.E.L.D..

The Other Man out of Time by sara_holmes features Clint Barton traveling in time and meeting Bucky Barnes and falling in love. It's also AU Age of Ultron. Happy ending.

The Course of Honour by Avoliot is original m/m romance fiction on AO3 - features arranged marriages, treaties, gaslighting (in the past), and political intrigue.
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Maurice looked out through the fine large windows of the receiving-room of the establishment, empty at present. He had just given up the extremely depressing task of undertaking the monthly accounts, and had no notion how he might present them to Biddy in such fashion that she would not get into a pother. It made some difference, but not enough, that Mrs Lucas had indeed paid up on the nail for her gowns; would that more ladies did so.

His idle gaze upon the passersby suddenly struck upon a fellow scrutinizing the building through a spyglass. He ran down the stairs and out into the street to see could he catch the fellow; discovering when he did so that it was MacDonald, a hat concealing the hair that was still, though fading in parts, a quite remarkable and distinctive red.

Oh: you.

MacDonald put down the spyglass. I had a thought, he said, that there were fine large skylights above the workroom –

- 'Tis entire necessary to have it well lit –

- and I wondered whether might be possible for one to get onto the roof, and peer through: but I cannot ascertain it at this distance, even with a telescope. Is’t possible to come at the roof at all from within?

Maurice conceded that there was a trapdoor onto the roof, and a ladder to it, and Mr MacDonald was entire welcome to make the essay.

So they went upstairs and MacDonald went up the ladder like a sailor up rigging – and a very fine view it was – and looked back down at Maurice, who realized that he was expected to make this excursion as well. He did not desire to display weakness before MacDonald, so he climbed up and stepped very tentative out onto the roof: it would probably be all right did he stay away from the edge, but his heart hammered and he felt slightly sick.

MacDonald was looking about the roof like a terrier after a rat. Maurice moved slowly towards the chimney-stack and set his back against it, as MacDonald remarked that he confided that had anyone been up upon the roof, would have left some marks of his passing, scuffing a line in the encrusted grime underfoot with the toe of his shoe.

He looked out and said, why, I daresay one might lay a plank, or swing by a rope, to cross from the next roof, yet that would require being able to come at the next building. He then went right to edge and crouched to look over the very low balustrade. Maurice closed his eyes.

I daresay, said MacDonald, that there are those might contrive to climb up, but 'twould be a risky business, though I apprehend there are burglars pride themselves on their skill in the matter. But, he went on, rising and dusting his hands together, I am like to think that there would have been signs, had any done so. Marks where they had passed; mayhap a spike or so hammered in to hold a rope. 'Twas merely a thought: considered it best to close that avenue of enquiry before proceeding to another –

- Mr Allard! Are you well?

Don’t – like high places, Maurice muttered between teeth clenched to keep them from chattering.

Why, you should have said, need not have come up. But we may go down now.

Maurice found himself entirely paralyzed, his legs weak under him.

Here, said MacDonald, take my arm, I will conduct you to the trap.

Maurice took the proferred arm, much against his will. It was a more muscular arm than he had anticipated – knowing MacDonald to be a scholar, had anticipated that 'twould either be scrawny or flabby, but had a pleasing firmness.

They came to the trap. Shall I, suggested MacDonald, go first down the ladder?

This was entirely sensible, even if annoying. He acquitted MacDonald of any interest in surveying his own still pretty arse in the process, and, closing his eyes, began the descent. At the foot, he felt his feet reach the floor, dropped his painfully tight grip, and found that his still shaking knees caused him to fall up against MacDonald.

Indeed in much finer physical condition than he would have supposed; and, oh, beautifully clean but with a faint scent of fine tobacco and – surely he did not employ perfume? – mayhap some good soap, or his linen stored with sachets of herbs?

Are you all right? enquired MacDonald. Here, you should sit down. He conducted Maurice over to a chair and looked about. Do you keep any brandy about the place, perchance?

Maurice waved towards the drawer in which he kept a small bottle of gin, and fumbled in his pocket for the key.

'Tis, he said, as MacDonald took it out and frowned at it, considered entire sovereign for certain female troubles, but should serve here.

MacDonald raised his eyebrows, found the glass, poured a generous tot, and handed it to Maurice. Indeed, he said, there is no shame in having no head for heights, 'tis a not uncommon affliction. 'Tis not a matter one may address entirely by the determined action of the will, any more than by wishing I might render my spectacles unnecessary. I am like to suppose 'tis some matter of the constitution, of innate nature.

He looked for a moment startled, as if overhearing himself, and frowned.

Maurice took a drink, and felt more like himself. Perhaps too much, because he found himself asking, Did no-one remark upon you peering about through a spying-glass?

MacDonald gave a small smile and said, Had any accosted me upon the matter, I would have represented myself as a devoted ornithologist and declared that I had heard report of an exceedingly rare bird nesting upon your roof. I confide I should have been most convincing. But, he continued, as I said, that line of enquiry goes nowhere, and I must pursue another.

You have another?

Indeed so, quite apart from Lady Bexbury going spy upon Madame Francine. But I had rather say nothing on the matter as yet.

Maurice, mindful that it was very good of MacDonald to be about this matter, that must seem to him much like a lady fretting that her lapdog had been took by dog-thieves did it not return home when it should, said that did he wish it, he might help himself to some gin – entire wholesome stuff, true Hollands geneva.

Why, I will take a little, thank you. He poured himself a small tot and perched up against the windowsill, looking about.

Surely no-one could take it for a den of depravity? Entirely clean and tidy, all in order.

Have you, asked MacDonald, ever met Madame Francine?

Maurice shook his head. Never to my knowledge.

Only I took a consideration that mayhap she had worked here herself at some time, and perchance there might be some matter of personal spite in the business.

Why, I cannot think of any that we let go with any bad feeling: there will ever be those go marry, or have some better place offered elsewhere. But I do not recollect any great resentments.

MacDonald sighed. Sometimes there are those that will go brood upon what they suppose slights. When I first came to know Lady Bexbury, she was being given a deal of bother by some fellow that had become vengeful because she had, he claimed, spurned his suit, that she herself did not even recollect: 'twas in those days when one may imagine she had so many suitors that one among 'em was readily forgot. But, he said, putting down his glass, I must be on my way. May take some little while until I come at more information.

He took up his hat, frowned, turned to look at Maurice and said, I trust you are over your disturbance of the nerves?

Entirely so, said Maurice, adding snappishly, do I find myself at all overcome there is a smelling-bottle kept in the drawer against attacks of the vapours.

MacDonald twitched his shoulders, said nothing, and departed.

Indeed it would be a great relief when MacDonald sounded out this tangle, if only that then Maurice would no longer have to encounter him.

[personal profile] pink_halen on eggs and cages

Sep. 12th, 2017 11:01 am
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[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
It seems that Starbucks is offering sandwiches with Cage Free Egg Whites. Personally, I never keep my egg whites in cages. Usually keeping them in their shells works just fine.

Context is free-range.
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Tibby said to Sandy that sure she would have brung him passes for Titus’s next recital, but 'twas a benefit he gave for Mr Gordon Duncan, that was such a fine mentor to him in days gone by. Not at all in health, poor fellow – but sure he must be a considerable age – and impoverished through that pack of offspring he brought into the world. Though indeed, are not undutiful, but go scrape their livings in such fashion as have very little to spare.

'Tis very good of him, Sandy remarked, and would indeed take a ticket for himself.

Tibby smiled and said, sure Her Ladyship has already took up places for a party. But, this dreadful matter of one that goes steal Maurice’s notions – sure if any can fathom it 'tis you and Her Ladyship.

Sandy gave a small smile and said she gave them too much credit, 'twas an entire maze at present, could not yet see a way through. But he confided that she had managed to have conversation with the needlewomen &C of the establishment?

Indeed yes, said Tibby, settling herself in the chair. Sure Euphemia’s cakes and a cup or so of the good tea will loosen their tongues! But either they are such good actresses that they should be on the stage, for 'tis scarce more precarious a living than seamstress, or 'tis none of 'em that is about the matter.

At least, she added thoughtfully, not with any deliberate intention. But sure there are errand-boys come to and fro, and footmen to fetch ladies’ gowns, and I daresay there are flirtations go on, and they might let somewhat drop, particular if the fellow went about with questions.

Why, said Sandy, that is a thought. Or was there some fellow that has that unusual gift of memory that some have, might be able to carry away impressions and sketch 'em down at leisure.

Say you so! O, perchance like unto those fellows that need only hear a piece of music once and can play it over entire accurate.

Much of the same thing.

Sandy was ever struck by the intelligence and abilities of the extensive family connexion of Hector and Euphemia, an entire riposte to any claims for the inferiority of those with black skin. There was Titus Marshall, not merely in possession of a most exceeding fine voice but a talented composer, and Tibby, that from attaining to be lady’s maid to a duchess had turned her hand to writing newspaper columns upon fashion for those ladies that could not aspire to be dressed by Mayfair modistes. And sure 'twas no matter of any admixture of European blood that conveyed them their talents, for Titus and Tibby were quite entirely African in their looks, quite ebony. He had not yet, however, come at some way he might compose a pamphlet upon the subject without the individuals upon whom he based his arguments being recognized. (Perchance he should ask Clorinda?)

And do your children take to music? he asked.

Tibby laughed. Oh, although young Gordon had a fine boyish treble, 'tis none so remarkable after its change, but most fortunate, his great desire is to be a newspaperman: I purpose see might I prefer him to Mr Lowndes to learn somewhat of the business.

May be a somewhat rackety life, remarked Sandy.

Tibby sighed and said, indeed. But now, little Clo – not so little now, a fine bouncing girl – shows a fine musical talent. The others are yet young.

She then said, but, has she conveyed all the matter she can think of concerning Maurice’s establishment, she promised have a word with Sophy about going to lay flowers upon dear Docket’s grave, and then take tea with Euphemia.

Indeed, I would not detain you, 'tis most greatly obliging of you.

Why, Maurice is family, anything we might do to help.

She rose, shook out her skirts, and left the library.

Sandy sighed. He would have to go back to that temple of the vanities and that mincing molly of a modiste –

Though, to be fair, he thought to himself, in spite of his effeminate airs Maurice Allard did not mince or prance, but was merely somewhat unmasculine graceful in his deportment. Sandy frowned. Had not Gervase been the epitome of – entirely manly – gracefulness? Wherein lay that difference?

He shrugged. He dared say that Clorinda would be having tea in her parlour, and he might as well join her.

When he went in, he found that she was not alone, but in amiable converse with Admiral Knighton. Looking from one to the other, he was in the greatest suspicion that they had very lately been enjoying amorous intimacies. And indeed, why not? 'Twas a most longstanding affection 'twixt the two of them, entirely understood by Lady Jane, whose own exceeding affection for that talented actress-manager Miss Addington was quite entirely accepted by the Admiral.

Clorinda had writ some exceeding fine tales, but surely her masterpiece was the tale, still sighed over in Society as so romantic, about the poor young naval lieutenant with his career to make and the country at war, in no position to offer suit to a Duke’s daughter, that had finally come into property and able to ask for her hand. And she remaining unmarried herself, all those years –

Whereas there had been the most happy conjunction of the Admiral’s need for someone to oversee his property while he was at sea, the necessity to counteract spiteful scandal about Lady Jane, and their mutual desire for offspring, along with fine friendship.

He and the Admiral nodded to one another, and the Admiral said that he was just telling Lady Bexbury that he had had a fine letter from Horatio, mentioning running into Josh Ferraby somewhere in South America, and nearly being beguiled into taking a pet sloth on his voyage.

Why, sure a sloth would be more convenable as a shipmate than a llama -

And talking of the Ferrabys, happened to be visiting old comrades at the Admiralty t’other day, ran into young Sir Harry – surely he cannot have a son old enough yet to be seeking a midshipman’s berth? Should be entire delighted to use any interest I still have, if so.

Indeed, young Hal is only just out of dresses and into the schoolroom. I daresay 'twas some matter to do with steam navigation, Harry is most well-reputed in matters of steam.

So he is, now I collect the matter. Does he not have the finest look of his late father?

He does so. Clorinda blinked a little and then said, but how does Janey? Do you find the school to answer for her?

The Admiral had most exceeding praise for the school – had even been at the trouble to find a mathematics tutor for Janey, that had gone beyond what they could teach. But went on to say he dared say Lady Bexbury would like to learn more of how Josh was doing, and withdrew the letter from an inner pocket so that she might read the passages in question.

After he had gone, pleading a dinner-party at Mulcaster House, Sandy looked at Clorinda and grinned, saying, still Venus’ votaress?

O, poo, Mr MacDonald, you cannot be shocked that I still enjoy a romp or two with old favourites.

Of whom there are quite some several! But I mind that I would be extreme glad of a word or two with Matt Johnson, is he like to come about the house.

Which Steven Universe episodes

Sep. 12th, 2017 12:10 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
...to show someone what makes this show so great?

My daughter doesn't watch much animated stuff and had never heard of Steven Universe, but was intrigued by my description of Amal El-Mohtar's Wiscon GoH speech. If you were to pick a few episodes from the first season to help someone decided whether this is the sort of thing she might like, and you were really hoping she would decide yes, which ones would you pick?

Requiescat in Pace

Sep. 11th, 2017 11:05 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx

Loose Ships Sink Lips

Sep. 11th, 2017 07:17 pm
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
  • I've seen half of It. I think horror movies in theaters are off my menu. There was a that's it point. I've mostly read the book, although I don't remember the scene.
  • Medical fu.
  • We had one of those stealth thunderstorms. Two guys on the bus were pointing at their iPhone, saying "There's a thunderstorm." (I did not say, guys, the windows are wet and there was a rumble a minute ago.
  • There's an alternate universe in which when we returned from oveseas, Dad got assigned to the Presidio or the Oakland Army Base and I grew up here and get all the arcane references in the Chronicle.
  • Where is that stupid phone bill?
  • Taiko drumming...
  •  

back again

Sep. 11th, 2017 02:37 pm
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[personal profile] jazzfish
I've fallen out of practice at journaling, which is never a good sign. Time to pull myself back into it. Part of the problem's that I've been running around mentally in crisis-management mode for about a month, for reasons that I am actively choosing to not get into instead of just sort of ignoring.

Today feels kind of bleh... but I did sleep pretty well last night, well enough for the light-alarm to wake me instead of waking up at random at four-thirty and not getting back to sleep. Though I did want to sleep longer. Which is unusual for me, I'm generally pretty good about getting up and moving after about five or ten minutes. More sleep tonight, I think.

Feeling a strong urge to hole up in my room or the bathtub and (re)read and do other distractionary things. July was lost to a haze of emotional overwhelm and also packing/moving, and August has been rough for mostly unrelated reasons. The Great Big Dragaera Reread has been a balm.

I went camping about a month ago for the first time since we moved, and I miss it. Thinking tentatively about going out backpacking over Canucksgiving. No idea where, or who with, though the answer to that one is likely "nobody, because I hate coordinating with people."

Still doing yoga though more erratically, still biking pretty consistently. The lovely bike basket I bought online doesn't fit over the handlebars of this bike, so I'm still looking for a better solution there. At least I've finally got a couple of bungee cords so I can pack things on the rear rack. I also need a better pannier: this one sticks up over the top of the rack, making it difficult to bungee things on properly.

Things like an Instant Pot, which I've purchased on the grounds that a) I wanted a rice cooker anyway, b) everyone I know who has one has sung its praises to the heavens, and c) being able to make more food and easier is almost certainly a Good Thing for me. I haven't yet figured out what I'm going to do with it other than "cook more meat faster," or even what sorts of meat-type things. Need to spend some time poking at crockpot-type recipes, perhaps.

In Memoriam

Sep. 11th, 2017 11:18 am
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 110 Stories by John M. Ford.

The church across the street is mostly rebuilt
.  Which reminded me of the Burger King on the corner, which had been way back an Automat, and the Manhattan Savings Bank, which had a grand piano which sometimes got played in the afternoons.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Sep. 11th, 2017 09:56 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
to [personal profile] johnpalmer ! (Also [personal profile] longhairedweirdo ! And [Bad username or site: xopher_vh @ livejournal.com]who has not updated in a long time and won't see this.)

A moment of self-promotion

Sep. 11th, 2017 05:56 pm
[syndicated profile] pameladean_feed

Posted by Fighting Crime with a Giant Dandelion Since 2013

Hi, you guys. I put up a public Patreon post yesterday intended to lure in new supporters. The main lure is that I promised to let supporters see early chapters of Going North in November,  by which time I'd be confident that said chapters would not be undergoing any more radical alteration.

I really dislike doing this. I feel terrible when I can't support people I want to support, or can't shower money on them rather than providing a dollar a month. And yet from the other side, every $1 supporter is so valuable to me that I have continual difficulty in remembering that there is an awards structure and that people who are able and willing to support me for more than that are supposed to get extra perks.

ANYWAY, I don't want to make anybody feel guilty or anxious, or obliged in any way, except that, if it isn't inconvenient and you haven't already done so as a result of my posting the link on Twitter, you might spread the word a little further. If you can't or don't, no guilt need obtrude, not the slightest.

Here's the link to the public post on Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/seasons-return-14318544

Raphael and I are hoping to go hiking later this week, so I intend my next post to be another phenological one rather than this kind of thing.

Thank you.

Pamela

This entry was originally posted at http://pameladean.dreamwidth.org/186976.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

A moment of self-promotion

Sep. 11th, 2017 12:50 pm
pameladean: (Default)
[personal profile] pameladean
Hi, you guys. I put up a public Patreon post yesterday intended to lure in new supporters. The main lure is that I promised to let supporters see early chapters of Going North in November,  by which time I'd be confident that said chapters would not be undergoing any more radical alteration.

I really dislike doing this. I feel terrible when I can't support people I want to support, or can't shower money on them rather than providing a dollar a month. And yet from the other side, every $1 supporter is so valuable to me that I have continual difficulty in remembering that there is an awards structure and that people who are able and willing to support me for more than that are supposed to get extra perks.

ANYWAY, I don't want to make anybody feel guilty or anxious, or obliged in any way, except that, if it isn't inconvenient and you haven't already done so as a result of my posting the link on Twitter, you might spread the word a little further. If you can't or don't, no guilt need obtrude, not the slightest.

Here's the link to the public post on Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/seasons-return-14318544

Raphael and I are hoping to go hiking later this week, so I intend my next post to be another phenological one rather than this kind of thing.

Thank you.

Pamela

Apoc, apocalyptic! Apoc, apocalyptic!

Sep. 11th, 2017 08:26 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I did better this weekend while staying off social media and Doing Things so I sometimes forgot that the world is apocalyptic (it is always apocalyptic, isn't it?).

I figured out one of the things that makes me so tense about social media. It's that when people are freaking out about events, or commenting about events, it all feels like I am Wrong for not feeling/commenting/doing what they are doing. It's worse when there are several Events going at once, like hurricanes/flooding/earthquake/immigrants/white supremacists.... I can't act on all those things, not all at once, not to the degree needed. There is only so much one person can do. It is very, very important to remember that, so you're able to do at least some things instead of melting into an anxious, ineffective puddle.

Another thing is that anxious/angry tweets/posts/whatevers can feel like personal attacks. Why aren't you fixing this?! You, right there?! It can feel this way even when you, the reader, know that those posts are coming from places of terrible dread and fear. Again, there's only so much one person can do, and sometimes to be able to do anything, you have to protect yourself.

So, things I actually did this weekend:

1. Hung out with a friend to give her support - we did brunch and, later, dinner followed by rolled ice cream. Green tea ice cream with an oreo ("The Hulk") is bliss.
2. Attended a film and spoken-word and song event about the 1985 police atrocity against the MOVE organization and the 2012 Philadelphia school crisis, showing support for this kind of event, and appreciation and support for the performers, some of whom were kids.
3. Wrote a book review, supporting Art.
4. Hung out with Ms. 9; talked about why some kids might not like school (she is not one of them), admired her growing acrobatic strength, and cuddled her on the couch while watching Teen Titans Go!
5. Culturally enlightened Ms. 13 and her bestie about Rainbow Goths.

These were good things, and I did them.
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Lady Bexbury! Enchanted! Maurice showed her in to his workroom, dusted off a chair so that she might sit, and went to the door to call for tea.

Once this had been served, and he was perched upon the stool by his bench, she asked how he found Mr MacDonald.

Why, 'tis clear that he is a fellow of considerable apprehension: but, is he not some kind of severe Evangelickal?

Lady Bexbury spluttered tea. Indeed not, she said with a mirthful expression, is quite entirely a freethinker and a utilitarian philosopher. But indeed he can manifest a certain severity of manner, especially with those he knows not well, 'tis a form of shyness. But he already comes at ways we might pursue this little matter of yours, indeed that is most particular why I came to see you today.

Not to start preparing your wardrobe for the Season?

Alas, Maurice, I hope you will not cast me out of doors for telling you, but I purpose go to Madame Francine about the business –

Maurice stared, and then said with a laugh, La, Lady Bexbury, you go as a spy?

So I do, and I should be glad could you give me some notions as to how to behave as a very exacting lady that will never be satisfied and will say, 'tis still not right, and, might the trim not be in a different shade? and keep coming back but never finding the thing entire to her liking?

Maurice laughed. Why, I may make some suggestions, but do you think on Lady Trembourne, I am persuaded you would have a fine example. I was never happier than when she decided we did not come up to her standards.

Ha, the Unfair Rosamund, indeed she is quite the pattern I would look for, never, ever, contented in anything. But, dear Maurice, though I shall not be coming for fittings, you have my mannequin, do you not, and may make up my gowns? I would not have you be a loser by this stratagem. 'Twould not seem at all particular did Sophy come call upon you from time to time to see how they did.

Might well be supposed that Sophy would come out of family feeling to commiserate upon my losing your custom, and mayhap gossip upon the matter, and to convoke as to how you might be brought about to be persuaded back, 'tis a good thought. Or even perchance that it must be coming around the time young Thomasina should be prenticed and she looks about for a good place.

Lady Bexbury sighed and rose from the chair. Seems like yesterday that she came and placed Thomasina in dear Docket’s arms and begged her to stand godmother, and Docket wept.

'Twas a most uncommon occurrence!

But I should leave you now, and you must go grumble upon me and the fickle ways of ladies.

Sure, Lady Bexbury, you should go write plays!

But he went into the workroom, and acted the necessary comedy, and one or two of the newer hands showed some disposition to giggle until kicked by their next neighbours, that had grown quite entire accustomed to Mr Maurice’s ways.

Then next day came his dear coz Tibby, that had done so well for herself, and handed him passes for Titus’ next recital, and said that she purposed go stand treat in the workroom, showing him the packages of fine pastries she had brought with her – a practice of hers these several years, whereby she could pick up notions for her writings on fashion in The Intelligencer, 'twould not seem at all particular did she so – and would see what gossip she might glean.

He looked at her and said, he confided 'twas not the first time she had done the like.

Tibby laughed and said, sure, began when she was still with Lady Bexbury, one hears things, may be most useful.

Did you ever come across this fellow MacDonald?

Tibby gave a girlish giggle most unsuited to her present age and standing and said, Was one Christmastide when Euphemia and I were still careless giddy girls, and there had been a matter of a wassail-bowl that was stronger liquor than we were used to, and we waylaid him under the kissing bunch. For he was quite the prettiest fellow – indeed, is still very well-looking, do you not think so? – but o, the scold we got from Hector! We were most exceeding mortified. But he took the matter most civil. Has been an intimate of Her Ladyship’s household these many years, indeed, since before her elevation.

Also, she went on, 'twas he that uncovered that Prue needed spectacles, made quite an immense difference. Sure 'twixt 'em, he and Her Ladyship can see further through a brick wall than most. Can any come at what is afoot here, must be the two of 'em.

Sure you give him an excellent character!

Why, has ever been quite the finest of friends to Her Ladyship. But I will go gossip – making sure that all have put their work aside afore they begin upon these fine cakes that Euphemia put up for me.

Do you bring Euphemia’s cakes I could quite envy 'em!

Tibby left the room and Maurice went back to sketching out designs. But though one could conceal designs, lock them away in hidden drawers, once the work was in hand, 'twas no longer entire secret –

At length he sighed, pushed them into the secret compartment hidden beneath the locked drawer, and stood up. He would go to the club tonight. Entirely not with any particular design to find an agreeable fellow to have a little amusement with, merely to be among fellows of his own kind that did not frown upon him.

Sure 'twas an occasion when one particularly missed Elias Winch, that was so very entertaining. But it was ever exceeding gratifying to enter the club by its front door, even was that a very discreet entrance that did not advertize itself, and see the fine appointments of the place, the spacious hall and public rooms, the marble floors and staircase, the elegant carpets and furniture, and know it a place where he was accepted.

He went into the parlour and one of the footmen brought him a glass of gin – good Hollands geneva, none of your nasty poisonous blue ruin. Maurice eyed him up and down – 'twas an understood thing that the footmen were for hire, were they agreeable. But somehow the fellow did not appeal, his attentiveness was somewhat encroaching.

Sir Hartley Zellen entered the room and came to sit in the adjacent chair. Allard! Delighted! Sir Stockwell was saying, are some proposals for membership the committee should go deliberate upon – sure there is no urgency in the matter, but we should be about it.

He then cleared his throat and lowered his voice and said that he apprehended that his lady wife was taking advantage of Maurice’s discreet chamber again? He did not wish to pry into her affairs so long as she was happy, but hoped that she was not about any indiscretion in her choice.

Maurice concealed a smile. There was a taste Sir Hartley and his wife had in common, that he doubted they knew of: young men – not very young, not schoolboys, but usually under twenty-five years. Their sons’ younger contemporaries, these days. 'Twas Barty Wallace was her current favourite, a young fellow that combined his father’s quondam taste for pleasures with his mother’s ever level head. No cause at all for concern, he said. All very prudent.

fiber monday

Sep. 10th, 2017 07:42 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
I have wondered at times whether the influence of German upon Japanese fibercrafts goes the other way. (For G --> J, consider crocheted or knitted "cafe curtains," which may also be machine-knitted.) There's knitted garment evidence of J --> G, but Ravelry is only one echo chamber, as it were. Now I see a sewing pattern for a smock, designed by a German person, which is vaguely mori/yama-girl compatible as a loose first or second layer and which is called FrauAiko, Mrs. Aiko. Aiko is a legit Japanese given name---Reason knows one, my mother knows another, so it spans generations nicely as well---but it's also a (generally northerly) German name or partial name (prototheme), as in one, two. Clever.

(Is "Frau" used by age at present, or is it reserved for married women? It's moved at least once within my lifetime.)

Status: looks like ___Sand's half-knitted collar will amount to a skein and a half (50g skeins), and then there'll be icord without end, amen. Pi shawl has resumed forward motion after the heat has let up a bit, though it's still 30 C = 86 F in my house right now, after sunset.

My mother has returned from her travels with some lovely einband yarn dyed with cochineal and indigo. Now I seem to be on the hook for not one Herbarium shawl but three, and Reason and my mother can be purple-pink twinsies next year 8-| while I retain my plan of off-white x pale sage. (The first of the pair has become the new office project, since two Tidblads at once is boring.) Cochineal á íslensku is kaktuslús koshinelle, according to the yarn label, jartulitað: cactus-louse cochineal, earth-dyed? Not sure about jartu-.

postscript to prior things

Sep. 10th, 2017 11:14 am
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Juniper: victory, if you adjust (as I must) for these:

Read more... )

ION, my 3yo desktop machine, which has already had its power supply replaced under warranty (which led to time-consuming shenanigans re: software license keys), makes a little grinding noise every time I turn it on. Hmmmm. The warranty expired 5 Sept 2017. :P Since I no longer have a professional need to run InDesign or oXygen with large data files and am increasingly unlikely to play more than one big PC game every two years, I'm pondering whether its eventual successor will be a laptop, which'd use less electricity. Does anyone have recs or cautions for recent, non-Apple laptops of small-business caliber? The one thing I always splurge on is RAM, to make a machine become obsolete more slowly; "home" machines are ruled out when you start with 16 GB. (I do still run oXygen sometimes, and now I use IntelliJ.) I've liked Dell and Lenovo laptops in the past, and Toshiba a long time ago.

[personal profile] ivy is a stranger in a strange land

Sep. 10th, 2017 05:45 pm
rydra_wong: dreamsheep with spork and "SheepSpork" logo; no, it wouldn't make any more sense if you saw it  (dreamwidth -- sheepspork)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] metaquotes
Everyone was nice to me, but I found it hard to participate in some of the conversations because everyone else there was fluent in Gearhead and I just don't care. It was all

One dude: "How do you like that model BLQ45Z?"
Other dude: "It's got pretty good flang, but the chimping bleederweep doesn't zerbert as well as I like in the corners."
First dude: "I heard that floppykush helps with the zerberting, tried that?"
Third dude: "My next squelch is gonna be a floppykush! Used to have a panpan bleederweep, but you know what they say about those oilsquirms!"
All dudes: [nod sagely and then argue]


Context is locked; QWP.

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