Archive for May, 2013


But when does the lifeboat become the prison ship?
When does the drug start working against you?

Turning round Clara stared at the piano. Mariana had
dropped her hands to the keys, and they were doing
the most remarkable thing. They were finding the
notes. In the right order. The music was astonishing.
Fluid and passionate and natural.
It was gorgeous, but it was also typical. She should
have known. The untalented brother was a brilliant
painter. The mess of a sister was a virtuoso pianist.
And Thomas? She’d always presumed he was as he
seemed. A successful executive in Toronto. But this
family was fuelled by deceit. What was he, really?

He expected people to play fair. Rules meant order.
Without them they’d be killing each other. It began
with butting in, with parking in disabled spaces, with
smoking in elevators. And it ended in murder.
True, he had to admit, it was a bit of a stretch but it
was descended from the same line. Trace it back far
enough and a murderer probably always broke the
rules, thinking himself better than the rest. He didn’t
like rule-breakers. And he especially didn’t like them
when they came wrapped in purple and green and
scarlet shawls with children named Bean.

‘I’ve been raised in a family of hypocrites, Inspector. I
promised myself I wouldn’t be like them. I wouldn’t
hide my feelings.’‘Quite easy when there’re none to hide.’
That silenced her. He’d won the point, but was losing
the interview. It was never a good sign when the
investigator was doing all the talking.
‘Why show all your feelings?’

Her smiling face grew serious. It didn’t make her
more attractive. Now she looked glum and ugly. ‘I
grew up in Disney World. It looked good from the
outside. It was meant to. But inside everything was
mechanical. You never knew what was real. Too much
courtesy, too many smiles. I grew frightened of smiles.
Never a cross word, but never a supportive one
either. You never knew how people really felt. We kept
things to ourselves. Still do. Except me. I’m honest
about most things.’

Peter smiled tightly. ‘Curiosity wasn’t something
rewarded in our home. It was considered rude. It was
rude to ask questions, rude to laugh too loud or too
long, rude to cry, rude to contradict. So, no, I wasn’t
curious.’


As he spoke he looked out of the French doors of the
library, across the mint-green wet grass and to the
misty lake beyond. A low cloud clung softly to the
forest. He could hear birds and insects, and
sometimes a splash as a feeding trout or bass
jumped. And he could hear the wah-wah of a siren
and the irritated honking of a horn.
purest-folly:(by Daniel Tsao).

Paris.The City of Light mingling with the wilderness. What a
world we live in, he thought.
rosewash:vanilla-velvet: rosy posts here ♡

But Armand always said people react differently to
death, and it was folly to judge anyone and double
folly to judge what people do when faced with sudden,
violent death. Murder. They weren’t themselves.
But privately Reine-Marie wondered. Wondered
whether what people did in a crisis was, in fact, their
real selves. Stripped of artifice and social training. It
was easy enough to be decent when all was going
your way. It was another matter to be decent when all
hell was breaking loose.
Her husband stepped deliberately into all hell every
day, and maintained his decency. She doubted the
same could be said for the Morrows.

You’ve taught us we make our own world. What was
that Milton quote we were raised with?
‘The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
Remember those walks in the park? You’d take Annie and me
and recite poetry all the way there. That was one of
your favourites. And mine.’Sometimes parenting was standing up and doing
what was unpopular.

He wanted her to know him. To explain this familiarity he suddenly felt. It was
disquieting. ‘Everyone gets a second chance. But not a third.’
He’d fired a man that day. Pierre had seen it. It was
horrible.This was Elliot’s third chance. He’d have to fire Elliot.
Once the investigation was over and the police gone.
It was no use doing it before that, since Elliot had to
hang around anyway.
Years after the firing his father had quietly invested
hundreds of thousands of his own dollars in helping
the man he’d fired start his own company.
He’d given him a third chance after all. But

Patenaude wasn’t just weak, letting others, even kids,
walk all over him. Beauvoir didn’t like weakness.
Murderers were weak.
‘Have you ever been walking down the street
and smelled something, and suddenly you’re
someplace else? It’s as if the smell transports you.’
With anyone other than the Chief Inspector he’d feel
foolish saying that.
‘I do. But it’s more than that,’ said Gamache. ‘A
feeling goes with it. I’ll suddenly feel melancholy or at
ease or calm. For no reason, except the scent.’
‘Oui, c’est ca. Especially an emotion.


Gamache had never seen Three Pines in summer.
The leaves of the maple, apple and oak trees
obscured slightly the old homes round the village
green. But that made them all the more magical, as
though half hiding their beauty only added to it. Three
Pines revealed itself slowly, and only to people with
the patience to wait, to sit quietly in one of the faded
armchairs in the bistro, sipping Cinzano or cafe au
lait, and watch the changing face of the venerable
village.
To their right the white spire of the chapel rose, and
the Riviere Bella Bella tumbled down from the
millpond then meandered behind the homes and
businesses.

Villagers walked dogs and ran errands or, more
precisely, strolled errands. Some could be seen with
their floppy gardening hats and gloves and rubber
boots kneeling in the moist gardens, snipping roses
for bouquets. Each home had an abundant perennial
bed. Nothing designed, no new species, none of the
latest horticultural offerings. Nothing that wouldn’t have
been found in gardens by soldiers returning home
from the Great War. Three Pines changed, but it
changed slowly.

Where most visitors went to the Louvre, the Tuileries,
the Tour Eiffel, Armand Gamache went to a quiet
courtyard garden behind a tiny museum.
And there he paid his respects to men long dead.
For that was the musee of Auguste Rodin. And
Armand Gamache went to visit the Burghers of
Calais.

The kitchen had the most wonderful aromas, but more than
anything it smelled of calm. Odd, she thought, for a
place so filled with activity. Assistants in crisp white
aprons were chopping herbs and cleaning early
vegetables taken from the kitchen garden or dropped
off by the local organic farmer, Monsieur Page. They
baked and kneaded, they stuffed and stirred. It was a
regular Dr Seuss book. But then cooking was an intimate act. An act of
artistry and creation. But neither did she want to leave this kitchen, this little
world the chef created. Perhaps because she
seemed so totally oblivious of her body, her face, her
clunky mannerisms, there was something refreshing
about her.Madame Dubois was her opposite. Plump,
composed, refined and beautifully turned out, even in
the Quebec wilderness.But both women were genuine.
And Chef Veronique Langlois had something else,
thought Lacoste, watching her gently but clearly
correct the technique of one of her young assistants,
she had a sense of calm and order. She seemed at
peace.
The kids gravitated to her, as did Pierre Patenaude

 
It was a charming smile, without artifice. He wasn’t
what she’d call an attractive man, not someone you’d
pick out at a party or notice across a room. He was
slim, medium height, pleasant, refined even. He
carried himself well, as though born to be a maitre d’,
or a multi-millionaire.There was an ease about him. He was an adult, she
realized. Not a child in adult’s clothing, like so many
people she knew. This man was mature. It was
relaxing to be around him.
He ran his Manoir in much the same way Chief
Inspector Gamache ran homicide. There was order,
calm, warmth about the Manoir Bellechasse, radiating
from the three adults who ran it, and impressing the
young adults who worked there. They learned more
than another language from these people, Lacoste
knew. Just as she learned more than homicide
investigation from Chief Inspector Gamache

‘Go on,’ said Gamache. He trusted Agent Lacoste’s
feelings.Beauvoir didn’t. He didn’t even trust his own.

‘I’m saying strange things happen to people who live
on the shores of a lake together, for years. This is a
log cabin. No matter how large, no matter how
beautiful. It’s still isolated.’
‘There are strange things done ‘neath the midnight
sun
By the men who moil for gold.‘

What killed people wasn’t a bullet, a blade, a fist to
the face. What killed people was a feeling. Left too
long. Sometimes in the cold, frozen. Sometimes
buried and fetid. And sometimes on the shores of a
lake, isolated. Left to grow old, and odd.

He stared at the hole and tried to feel something.
Tried to remember Julia as a girl. His older sister.
Born between the boys, like being born between the
wars. Trodden upon and mauled as the boys tried to
get at each other. They’d squashed and trampled her
in the middle.

So sure of yourself.Always fitting in. Well try being an artist in a family of
intellectuals. Try being tone deaf in a family of
musicians. Try being taunted all the way to class, not
by other kids, but by your own brother, yelling “Spot,
Spot”.’
Morrows ran and hid in smiling cynicism and dark
sarcasm.
‘The first generation makes the money, the second
appreciates it, having witnessed the sacrifice, and the
third squanders it.

Gamache’s alarm went off at five thirty the next
morning and after a refreshing shower he dressed,
picked up his notebook and left. The summer sun was
just up and wandering in the lace-curtained windows.
Nothing stirred, except a loon calling across the lake.

Was there an invisible world, Gamache wondered. A
place where diminished people met, where they
recognized each other? Because if he knew one thing
about Julia Martin it was that she too was invisible.
The sort others cut off in conversation, cut in front of in
grocery lines, overlook for jobs though their hand
might be raised and waving.

Settling into the chair on the wooden dock Gamache
sipped coffee and stared at the lake and the forested
mountains all around. He cradled the delicate cup in
his large hands and let his mind wander. Instead of
forcing himself to focus on the case he tried to open
his mind, to empty it. And see what came to him.
What came to him was a bird, a footless bird. Then
Ulysses and the whirlpool, and Scylla, the monster.
The white pedestal.

‘No, Chief Inspector, I’ve never been a prisoner. I
wouldn’t allow it.’‘Some people have no choice, monsieur.
Terrible,’ said Finney. They sat quietly, each in his
own thoughts. The mist was slowly burning off the lake
and every now and then a bird skimmed the surface,
hungry for insects. Gamache was surprised how
companionable it felt, to be alone with this quiet man.
https://i0.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/918cd0096cd5f1a9208d10aed030583f/tumblr_mm7jsfmAcX1r4kb9co1_500.jpg

‘The surroundings aren’t the issue,’ said Gamache
quietly. ‘The interior is. Your body can be standing in
the loveliest of places, but if your spirit is crushed, it
doesn’t matter. Being excluded, shunned, is no small
event.’
‘I couldn’t agree more.’ Finney leaned back again into
the deep Adirondack chair. Across the lake a couple
of Oh Canada birds called to each other. It was just
after seven.Bean’s alarms would have gone off by now.
‘Did you know that Henry David Thoreau and Ralph
Waldo Emerson were friends?’‘They were. Thoreau was once thrown in jail for
protesting some government law he believed violated
freedom. Emerson visited him there and said, “Henry,
how did you come to be in here?” Do you know what
Thoreau replied?’‘No,’ said Gamache.
‘He said, “Ralph, how did you come to be out there?”
After a moment Finney made a strangled noise.
Gamache turned to look. It was laughter. A soft,
almost inaudible, chuckle.

‘He was my best friend.’ Finney broke away,
reluctantly, from the scene on the lake. ‘We went
through school together. Some people you lose track
of, but not Charles. He was a good friend. Friendship
mattered to him.’‘What was he like?’‘Forceful. He knew what he wanted and he generally
got it.‘What did he want?’‘Money, power, prestige. The usual.’

He always said she had the best mind of any of them. Not, perhaps, the
best brain. But the best mind. But she was busy having fun.’

The Morrows could be counted on to choose the right
fork and the wrong word. Their comments were
always casual. And when confronted they’d look hurt,
offended, perplexed. How often had Clara apologized

Gamache smiled, understanding it now.
On the outside the Morrows were healthy, attractive
even. But you can’t diminish so many people without
diminishing yourself. And the Morrows, inside, had all
but disappeared. Empty.

But he wasn’t convinced the sculptor was right. He
thought there might be quite a bit of the Burghers in all
of them. He saw all the Morrows, trudging along,
chained together, weighed down by expectation,
disapproval, secrets. Need. Greed. And hate. After
years of investigating murders Chief Inspector
Gamache knew one thing about hate. It bound you for
ever to the person you hated. Murder wasn’t
committed out of hate, it was done as a terrible act of
freedom. To finally rid yourself of the burden.

Pelletier tilted his palms towards the blue sky.
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ asked Beauvoir,
suddenly annoyed. ‘God murdered Julia Martin?’‘He is a serial killer,’ said Pelletier, without humour.

‘People like you, Colleen.’
She raised her eyes to his.
‘I watch and listen,’ he continued. ‘I read people. It’s
what I do for a living. Are you listening?’
She nodded.‘Those young women like you. If one good thing’s
come of all this pain, it’s that you’ve found some real
friends here.’

Gamache stared at the dishevelled man in front of
him. ‘Be careful, Peter. You have a good spirit, but
even good spirits stumble, and sometimes they fall.
And sometimes they don’t get up.’

Both men knew that one day Beauvoir would step
forward. And both men knew the burned and desolate
spot Gamache sought wasn’t exclusive to the
murderer. The reason Armand Gamache could go
there was because it wasn’t totally foreign to him. He
knew it because he’d seen his own burned terrain,
he’d walked off the familiar and comfortable path
inside his own head and heart and seen what
festered in the dark.And one day Jean Guy Beauvoir would look at his
own monsters, and then be able to recognize others.
And maybe this was the day and this was the case.

‘What did you think of him?’
‘He was a type I knew. I’d never have married him.
Too wrapped up in work and society and right and
wrong. Not morals, of course, but things like dessert
forks and thank you notes and proper clothing.’
‘Forgive me, Madame Dubois, but all those things
clearly matter to you, too.’ ‘They matter by choice, Chief Inspector. But if you
showed up in a striped shirt and a polka-dotted tie I
wouldn’t ask you to change. Monsieur Morrow would
have. Or he’d have made certain you knew it was
offensive. He was easily offended. He had a very
keen idea of his place. And yours.’ She smiled at him.
‘But there’s always more to a person, and you say you
got to know them quite well.’
‘‘I liked Charles Morrow. For all he was pompous he
had a sense of humour and a lot of good friends. You
can tell a lot about a man by his friends, or lack of
them. Do they bring out the best in each other, or are
they always gossiping, tearing others down? Keeping
wounds alive? Charles Morrow despised gossip. And
his best friend was Bert Finney. That spoke volumes
about the man, a mon avis.

‘He has nowhere to go. Do you know why we’re all sohappy here, monsieur? Because it’s the last house onthe road. We’ve tried everywhere else, and don’t fit in.Here we fit. Here we belong. Even the kids who cometo work are special. Seekers. And they stay as longas they choose.
Her Victorian parents had made clear two
things: the husband must be obeyed, and she must
never show weakness, especially to that husband.
And so she’d bathed her beautiful baby, and cried.

‘No, we got the murderer, there’s no doubt. But I also
knew there was someone else in Three Pines I felt
was capable of murder. Someone who needed
watching.’‘Clara,’ said Lacoste. Emotional, temperamental,
passionate. So much can go wrong with a personality
like that.‘No, Peter. Closed off, complex, so placid and
relaxed on the surface but God only knows what’s
happening underneath.’

‘Look.’ He pointed into the night sky. ‘It’s Babar.’
He swirled his fingers around, trying to get her to see
the elephant shape in the stars.
‘Are you sure? It looks more like Tintin.
‘No, he’s grazing, resting,’ said Gamache. ‘Even the
most magnificent of creatures needs a rest. Pegasus
knows how to soar and chase and glide. But he also
knows how to be at peace.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed … and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of.
Beauvoir looked over and saw the chief, his eyes
closed and his head tilted back, but his lips moving,
repeating a phrase.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue,
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights …
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
‘Where’s that from?’ asked Beauvoir.
‘A poem called “High Flight” by a young Canadian
aviator in the Second World War.’

She radiated rage now. He felt his face would bubble
and scald. And he knew why none of the Morrow
children had ever been this close.
puzzle.

Grief was dagger shaped and sharp and pointed
inwards. It was made of fresh loss and old sorrow.
Rendered and forged and sometimes polished. Irene
Finney had taken her daughter’s death and to that
sorrow she’d added a long life of entitlement and
disappointment, of privilege and pride. And the
dagger she’d fashioned was taking a brief break from
slashing her insides, and was now pointed outward.
At Armand Gamache.

‘I loved my father then and I love him now. It’s pretty
simple,’ he said.
‘I loved my father then and I love him now. It’s pretty
simple,’ he said.
‘He doesn’t deserve it. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth, and I
have to speak it. The truth will set you free.’ She
seemed almost sorry.‘I believe it,’ he said. ‘But I also believe it’s not the
truth about others that will set you free, but the truth
about yourself.’Now she bristled.
‘I’m not the one who needs freeing, Mr Gamache. You
refuse to see your father clearly. You’re living with a
lie. I knew him. He was a coward and a traitor. The
sooner you accept that the sooner you can get on with
your life. What he did was despicable. He doesn’t
deserve your love.’‘We all deserve love. And at times pardon.’
‘Pardon? Do you mean mercy, forgiveness?’ She
made it sound like an oath, a curse.
‘Yes. I found a book last night about the Hundred
Years War between England and France. At that time
the first son of any family inherited, the second was
given to the church, the third might make a good
marriage, but the fourth? Well, the fourth had to make
his own way.’
‘Difficult times.’
‘For martlets. And I remembered what Charles
Morrow most feared about his own children, four of
them as it turned out. He was afraid they’d squander
the family fortune.’

‘As it happens, yes. But of all of them Peter was the
most fragile. He has an artist’s soul and a banker’s
temperament. Makes for a very stressful life, being so
in conflict with himself.’
‘On the night she died Julia accused him of being a
hypocrite,’ Gamache remembered.
‘They all are, I’m afraid. Thomas is the opposite of
Peter. A banker’s soul but an artist’s temperament.
Emotions squashed. That’s why his music’s so
precise.’
‘But without pleasure,’ said Gamache. ‘Unlike
Mariana’s.’
Finney said nothing.
‘But I haven’t told you the most

‘Do you know why it’s always drawn without feet?’
Finney remained silent.‘Because it’s on its way to heaven. According to
legend a martlet never touches the earth, it flies all the
time. I believe Charles Morrow wanted to give that to
his children. He wanted them to soar. To find, if not
heaven, then at least happiness. Oh, I have slipped
the surly bonds of earth,’ said Gamache. ‘You quoted
the poem “High Flight” when we first talked.’
‘Charles’s favourite. He was a naval aviator in the
war. And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.
Beautiful.’
The words went out into the world and joined the
golden sunshine streaming through the gathering
clouds and onto the water and the dock and warming
their faces. The words joined the glittering waves and
the bobbing insects and butterflies and birds and
shimmering leaves.

earth-song:“Tiny Visitor” by Sue Holland  fairy-wren:European Bullfinch(Photo by mars shangareev)
Armand Gamache closed his eyes and walked deep
into the shadows, deep into the longhouse where all
his experiences and memories lived, where everyone
he’d ever met and everything he’d ever done or
thought or said waited.

Instead he continued to stare at the younger man, so neat, so perfectly turned out,
and in such turmoil. It was that turmoil that made him
such a gifted investigator, Gamache knew. Yes, he
collected facts and assembled them brilliantly, but it
was Beauvoir’s discomfort that allowed him to
recognize it in others.‘There’s nothing to be ashamed of, but there is a lot to
be aware of. Be careful.

‘Be careful,’ Gamache whispered. ‘You’re making
hurting a habit. Spreading it around won’t lessen your
pain, you know. Just the opposite.’

He sponsored a woman he’d met in Bergen-
Belsen to come to Canada and live with us. Zora was
her name. She became my grandmother, and raised
me after my parents died. She taught me that life
goes on, and that I had a choice. To lament what I no
longer had or be grateful for what remained. I was
fortunate to have a role model that I couldn’t squirm
my way around. After all, how do you argue with the
survivor of a death camp?’Gamache actually chuckled, and Peter wondered at
this man who’d lived every nightmare and was happy
while Peter had every privilege and wasn’t.
They walked out of the tunnel of maple trees and into
the light, dimmed by cloud. Both men stopped. Some
fiddle music reached them.

She told him and his eyes widened, surprised. She
was right, of course. And so many vaguely troubling
things suddenly made sense. The world-class chef
hidden away. The army of young English workers.
Never older, never French. Why she never greeted the
guests. And why she lived, year round, on the shores
of an isolated lake.

The last thing they needed was to lose the searchers. It happened. How
often had the lost reappeared and the searchers
disappeared, only to be found as bones years later.
The Canadian wilderness didn’t give up her territory
or her dead easily.
She looked at Gamache as though he was
responsible. And he knew he was. He’d been slow,
allowed himself to be misdirected by his own
prejudices. He’d accused Beauvoir of being blinded
by emotion, but he had been too.
‘You sit here, safe and warm with the old women and
children,’ hissed Mrs Finney. ‘Hiding here while others
do the difficult work.’

The Murder Stone

It was an art, this building of log homes. But what guided the keen
eyes and rough hands of these men wasn’t aesthetics
but the certainty that winter’s bite would kill whoever
was inside if they didn’t choose the logs wisely. A
coureur du bois could contemplate the stripped trunk
of a massive tree for hours, as though deciphering it.

For there was something unnatural about the Manoir
Bellechasse from the very beginning. It was
staggeringly beautiful, the stripped logs golden and
glowing. It was made of wood and wattle and sat right
at the water’s edge. It commanded Lac Massawippi,
as the Robber Barons commanded everything. These
captains of industry couldn’t seem to help it.
therestisthewest:Blowing Rock, NC http://www.spiritfeather.com/

But the Bellechasse remained. It changed hands over
the generations and slowly the stunned and stuffed
heads of long-dead deer and moose and even a rare
cougar disappeared from the log walls and were
tossed into the attic.As the fortunes of its creators waned, so went the
lodge. It sat abandoned for many years, far too big for
a single family and too remote for a hotel. Just as the
forest was emboldened enough to reclaim its own,
someone bought the place.

He always lingered in Three Pines. He wandered
slowly by the perennial beds of roses and lilies and
thrusting bold foxglove. He helped kids spot frogs at
the pond on the green. He sat on warm fieldstone
walls and watched the old village go about its
business. It added hours to his day and made him the
last courier back to the terminal. He knew what he held in his hand now was that, and
more. It wasn’t, perhaps, total telepathy that informed
his certainty, but also an unconscious ability to read
handwriting. Not simply the words, but the thrust
behind them. The simple, mundane three-line address
on the envelope told him more than where to deliver
the letter. The hand was old, he could tell, and infirm.
Crippled not just by age, but by rage. No good would
come from this thing he held. And he suddenly wanted
to be rid of it.

Without a view of the
mountains or the lake or the perennial gardens lush
with fresh peonies and first-bloom roses. He’d saved
for months, wanting that visit to be special.
And while Gamache and Reine-Marie had certainly
changed, marrying, having two children and now a
granddaughter and another grandchild on the way,
Clementine Dubois never seemed to age or diminish.
And neither did her love, the Manoir. It was as though
the two were one, both kind and loving, comforting
and welcoming. And mysteriously and delightfully
unchanging in a world that seemed to change so fast.
And not always for the better.

woodendreams:(by Jordan Ek)
‘In fact, this whole family asked for free
upgrades. Arrived in Mercedes and BMWs and
asked for upgrades.’ She smiled. Not meanly, but with
some bafflement that people who had so much
wanted more.‘

We like to leave it up to the fates,’ he said. She examined his face to see if he was joking, but though the probably wasn’t. ‘We’re perfectly happy with what we’re given.’

And Clementine Dubois knew the truth of it. She felt
the same. Every morning she woke up, a bit surprised
to see another day, and always surprised to be here,
in this old lodge, by the sparkling shores of this
freshwater lake, surrounded by forests and streams,
gardens and guests. It was her home, and guests
were like family. Though Madame Dubois knew, from
bitter experience, you can’t always choose, or like,
your family.

One day rolled gently into the next as the Gamaches
swam in Lac Massawippi and went for leisurely walks
through the fragrant woods. They read and chatted
amicably with the other guests and slowly got to know
them.
Up until a few days ago they’d never met the Finneys,
but now they were cordial companions at the isolated
lodge. Like experienced travellers on a cruise, the
guests were neither too remote nor too familiar. They
didn’t even know what the others did for a living, which
was fine with Armand Gamache.

infinite-paradox:by Chen Qu

She seemed an alien in
this place, certainly not someone in her natural
habitat. Gamache supposed her to be in her late
fifties, early sixties, though she was clearly trying to
pass for considerably less. Funny, he thought, how
dyed hair, heavy make-up and young clothes actually
made a person look older.
They walked on to the lawn, Sandra’s heels aerating
the grass, and paused, as though expecting
applause. But the only sound Gamache could hear
came from the bee, whose wings were making a
muffled raspberry sound in the rose.

But the maitre d’ never seemed to run. He gave
everyone his time, as though they were the only ones
in the auberge, without seeming to ignore or miss any
of the other guests. It was a particular gift of the very
best maitre d’s, and the Manoir Bellechasse was
famous for having only the best.
‘Some fathers teach their sons to hunt or fish. Mine
would bring me into the woods and teach me about
the weather,’ he’d explained one day while showing
Gamache and Reine-Marie the barometric device
and the old glass bell jar, with water up the spout.
‘Now I’m teaching them.’ Pierre Patenaude had
waved in the direction of the young staff. Gamache
hoped they were paying attention.
There was no television at the Bellechasse and even
the radio was patchy, so Environment Canada
forecasts weren’t available. Just Patenaude and his
near mythical ability to foretell the weather. Each
morning when they arrived for breakfast the forecast
would be tacked outside the dining-room door. For a
nation addicted to the weather, he gave them their fix.
Now Patenaude looked out into the calm day.

After a refreshing swim and gin and tonics on the
dock the Gamaches showered then joined the other
guests in the dining room for dinner. Candles glowed
inside hurricane lamps and each table was adorned
with simple bouquets of old English roses. More
exuberant arrangements stood on the mantelpiece,
great exclamations of peony and lilac, of baby blue
delphinium and bleeding hearts, arching and aching.

Finally, when they could eat no more, the cheese cart
arrived burdened with a selection of local cheeses
made by the monks in the nearby Benedictine abbey
of Saint-Benoit-du-Lac. The brothers led a
contemplative life, raising animals, making cheese
and singing Gregorian chants of such beauty that they
had, ironically for men who’d deliberately retreated
from the world, become world-famous.
Enjoying the fromage bleu Armand Gamache looked
across the lake in the slowly fading glow, as though a
day of such beauty was reluctant to end.

A single light
could be seen. A cottage. Instead of being invasive,
breaking the unspoiled wilderness, it was welcoming.
Gamache imagined a family sitting on the dock
watching for shooting stars, or in their rustic living
room, playing gin rummy, or Scrabble, or cribbage, by
propane lamps. Of course they’d have electricity, but
it was his fantasy, and in it people in the deep woods
of Quebec lived by gas the family felt about each other.


She saw his hesitation and laughed again. ‘Forgive
me, monsieur. Each day I’m with my family I regress a
decade. I now feel like an awkward teenager. Needy
and sneaking smokes in the garden.

Then he laughed at himself. Seeing things not there,
hearing words unspoken. He’d come to the Manoir
Bellechasse to turn that off, to relax and not look for
the stain on the carpet, the knife in the bush, or the
back. To stop noticing the malevolent inflections that
rode into polite conversation on the backs of
reasonable words. And the feelings flattened and
folded and turned into something else, like emotional
origami. Made to look pretty, but disguising
something not at all attractive.
It was bad enough that he’d taken to watching old
movies and wondering whether the elderly people in
the background were still alive. And how they died.
But when he started looking at people in the street
and noticing the skull beneath the skin it was time for
a break.
‘Poverty can grind a person down,’ said Gamache
quietly. ‘But so can privilege.’

Pierre sometimes felt like an emergency room
physician. People streamed through his door,
casualties of city life, lugging a heavy world behind
them. Broken by too many demands, too little time,
too many bills, emails, meetings, calls to return, too
little thanks and too much, way too much, pressure.
He remembered his own father coming home from
the office, drawn, worn down.
It wasn’t servile work they did at the Manoir
Bellechasse, Pierre knew. It was noble and crucial.
They put people back together. Though some, he
knew, were more broken than others.
Not everyone was made for this work.

‘I‘It’s just a plant,’ repeated Mariana. ‘Don’t be foolish.’
Ingenious, thought Gamache. It doesn’t dare show
itself for what it really is, for fear of being killed. What
had Thomas just said?
Things aren’t as they seem. He was beginning to
believe it.

Pierre Patenaude stood at the door of the kitchen. It
was clean and orderly, everything in its place. The
glasses lined up, the silverware in its sleeves, the
bone china carefully stacked with fine tissue between
each plate. He’d learned that from his mother. She’d
taught him that order was freedom. To live in chaos
was to live in a prison. Order freed the mind for other
things. Even as a child
Pierre knew he was being groomed. Trimmed and
shaped, buffed and burnished.
Would his father be disappointed in him? Being just a
maitre d’? But he thought not. His father had wanted
only one thing for him. To be happy.

Julia Martin sat at the vanity and took off her single
string of pearls. Simple, elegant, a gift from her father
for her eighteenth birthday.
‘A lady is always understated, Julia,’ he’d said. ‘A
lady never shows off. She always puts others at ease.
Remember that.’

‘You humiliated me in front of everyone,’ she said,
transferring her hunger to eat into a hunger to hurt. He
didn’t turn round. She knew she should let it go, but it
was too late. She’d chewed the insult over, torn it
apart and swallowed it. The insult was part of her now.
‘Why do you always do it? And over a pear? Why
couldn’t you just agree with me for once?’
She looked out into the perennial garden and noticed
if she squinted just so she could believe herself back
home in their little village of Three Pines. It wasn’t
actually all that far away. Just over the mountain
range. But it seemed very distant indeed just now.
Each summer morning at home she’d pour a cup of
coffee then walk barefoot down to the Riviere Bella
Bella behind their house, sniffing roses and phlox and
lilies as she passed. Sitting on a bench in the soft sun
she’d sip her coffee and stare into the gently flowing
river, mesmerized by the water, glowing gold and
silver in the sunshine. It was a quiet,
uneventful life. It suited them.

shaktilover:Good morning.  :)

Peter tried to keep his voice as civil as hers, and felt
he’d achieved that perfect balance of courtesy and
contempt. So subtle it was impossible to challenge,
so obvious it was impossible to miss.
Across the scorching terrasse Julia felt her feet begin
to burn in their thin sandals on the hot stones.
The tractor beam? No, not that. The shields. Peter
went through life with his shields raised, repulsing
attack by food or beverage, or people. Clara
wondered whether there was a tiny Scottish voice in
his head right now screaming, ‘Cap’n, the shields are
down. I canna git them up.
Gamache nodded and putting his hands behind his
back he looked out to the far shore, and waited. He
knew Peter Morrow. Knew him to be a decent and
kind man, who loved his wife more than anything in
the world. But he also knew Peter’s ego was almost
as large as his love. And that was enormous.
‘What?’ Peter laughed, after the silence had stretched
beyond his breaking.
‘You’re used to being the successful one,’ said
Gamache simply. No use pretending. ‘It would be
natural to feel a little …’ he searched for the right
word, the kind word, ‘murderous.’‘I’m not at all like him,’ snapped Peter in a tone so
unlike him it surprised the others.
‘You didn’t like your father?’ Gamache asked. It
seemed a safe guess.
‘I liked him about as much as he liked me. Isn’t that
how it normally works? You get what you give? That’s
what he always said. And he gave nothing.’
There was silence then.

‘Nothing gets by Thomas, I’m guessing,’ said
Gamache.
‘He’s the original recycler,’ agreed Peter. ‘He collects
conversations and events then uses them years later,
against you. Recycle, retaliate, repulse. Nothing’s
ever wasted with our Thomas.’

The storm moved on, to terrorize other creatures
deeper in the forest. And the Gamaches returned to
bed, throwing open their windows for the cool breeze
the storm had left as an apology.
In the morning the power was restored, though the sun
wasn’t. It was overcast and drizzly. The Gamaches
rose late to the seductive aromas of Canadian back
bacon, coffee and mud. The smell of the Quebec
countryside after a heavy rain.
letsbuildahome-fr:A Supercell Thunderstorm Cloud Over Montana© Sean R. Heavey
All returned to normal and within minutes the
Gamaches were in their wicker rocking chairs in the
screen porch. There was something deeply peaceful
about a rainy summer day. Outside the rain was soft
and steady and refreshing after the terrible heat and
humidity. The lake was dull and small squalls could be
seen marking the surface.
But he knew something else.
If it was murder, someone in this room almost
certainly did it. He never let that overwhelm his
compassion, but neither did he let his compassion
blind him.
‘You’re right,’ he said quietly. He turned sombre,
kindly eyes on her. ‘There’s a woman over there who
was alive hours ago. It might be an accident, it might
be murder, but either way, this isn’t the time or place
for laughter. Not yet.’
‘I’m sorry.’
‘You’re too young to be hardened and cynical. So am
I.’ He smiled. ‘It’s no shame to be sensitive. In fact, it’s
our greatest advantage.’
‘Yes sir.’ The young agent could have kicked herself.
She was naturally sensitive but had thought she
should hide it, that a certain cavalier attitude would
impress this famous head of homicide. She was
wrong.

That’s where Chief Inspector Gamache could be
found.He stepped into the beyond, and found the monsters
hidden deep inside all the reasonable, gentle,
laughing people. He went where even they were
afraid to go. Armand Gamache followed slimy trails,
deep into a person’s psyche, and there, huddled and
barely human, he found the murderer.

Armand Gamache knew something most other
investigators at the famed Surete du Quebec never
quite grasped. Murder was deeply human. A person
was killed and a person killed. And what powered the
final thrust wasn’t a whim, wasn’t an event. It was an
emotion. Something once healthy and human had
become wretched and bloated and finally buried. But
not put to rest. It lay there, often for decades, feeding
on itself, growing and gnawing, grim and full of
grievance. Until it finally broke free of all human
restraint. Not conscience, not fear, not social
convention could contain it. When that happened, all
hell broke loose. And a man became a murderer.

bad enough at the best of times, and this was far from
the best of times. A room full of grief was even worse
than a room full of anger. Anger a person got used to,
met most days, learned to absorb or ignore. Or walk
away from. But there was no hiding from grief. It would
find you, eventually. It was the thing we most feared.
Not loss, not sorrow. But what happened when you
rendered those things down. They gave us grief.

Irene Finney slowed as she approached. She wasn’t
a woman who understood the void, who’d given it any
thought. But she knew, too late, she should have. She
knew then that the void wasn’t empty at all. Even now,
steps away, she could hear the whisper. The void
wanted to know something.
What do you believe?
That’s what filled the void. The question and the
answer.

She turned and watched the Chief Inspector for a moment,
his strong face in profile. At rest, but watchful.
There was an old-world courtliness about him that
made her feel she was in the company of her
grandfather, though he was only twenty years older
than her, if that.
Jean Guy Beauvoir already suspected most
Anglos were nuts. And now a Bean to prove it. Who
called their child after a legume?

You have a rule against murder?’ he asked.
‘I do. When my husband and I bought the Bellechasse
we made a deal with the forest. Any death that wasn’t
natural wasn’t allowed. Mice are caught alive and
released. Birds are fed in the winter and even the
squirrels and chipmunks are welcome. There’s no
hunting, not even fishing. The pact we made was that
everything that stepped foot on this land would be
safe.’
‘An extravagant promise,’ said Gamache.
‘Perhaps.’ She managed a small smile. ‘But we
meant it. Nothing would deliberately die at our hands,
or the hands of anyone living here. We have an attic
filled with reminders of what happens when creatures
turn against each other. It scared that poor child half to
death and well it should scare us all. But we’ve grown
used to it, we tolerate the taking of lives. But it’s not
allowed here. You must find out who did this. Because
I know one thing for sure. If a person would kill once,
they’d kill again.’

 

Garden

The planet does not need more ‘successful’ people….

Planet needs healers

Art Deco design ideas

http://butdoesitfloat.com/    – collage , typography , paintings etc.

http://www.trendey.com/scandi-retro –     rustic / retro stuff

swedish-spring2

http://anindiansummer-design.blogspot.in –  This site’s got some seriously gr8 eclectic eye candy

TwistedSifter

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘famous quotes‘ compilation so I culled through hundreds of quotes on ‘friendship’ last night, and these wee the fifteen that resonated most. I then overlaid the quote onto a picture because what would a Sifter post without images be?

If you have any personal favourites to add, let me know in the comments! If there are enough I can update the post or do a part II 🙂

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

be-a-friend-quote

Photograph by Dawn Ellner

“The only way to have a friend is to be one”

 

 

David Tyson Gentry

friendship-comfortable-silence-quote

Photograph by Mohammad Ali F.

“True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable”

 

 

Muhammad Ali

muhammad-ali-quote-on-friendship

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you…

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Zen Flash

  • Let go (zenflash.wordpress.com)

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all things green

‘Artistic labour is power’ – The Hindu.

Prasanna always had a rebellious streak. He quit IIT to pursue his passion for theatre. Inspired and initiated into theatre by B.V. Karanth, Prasanna joined the National School Drama (NSD). During the Emergency, he returned to Karnataka and founded Samudaya, a radical theatre movement for workers and masses. They staged street plays, protest plays and propagated their political thought in villages. For a while he was a visiting faculty at NSD. For a couple of years, he worked for an independent television company in New Delhi. He gave this up and left the capital.

That was a phase when Prasanna was disenchanted with theatre and almost gave up on his passion. The man who created noted stage productions like Tughlaq , Gandhi , Thai , Neele Ghode , Ek Lok Katha , Shakuntalam , The Ascent of Fujiyama moved to Heggodu, a small village in Karnataka. Here, he started Charaka, a multi-purpose women’s cooperative, while occasionally writing and sometimes dabbling in direction and teaching. A Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, Prasanna is currently a Tagore Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Prasanna recently released his book Indian Method in Acting at the Kulasekhara Theatre Festival in Kochi and talked about theatre, activism, Charaka and more. Excerpts from the interview.

Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

The state of regional theatre today…

There is a huge crisis, what I call machine-induced culture, where cinema and television have taken over entertainment. For the common man, this is theatre. We now have a huge number of artistes and audiences watching television and cinema instead of theatre. The participatory element of theatre is gone. Theatre has also become technology-driven. The actor has slipped into the background.

Is there a deep divide between urban and rural theatre?

People’s theatre is dying because of impoverishment in the villages. Gradually we have been seeing performances in the villages reducing, in small towns too. In the 1940s and 1950s there was this attempt to revive and keep it alive through the Indian People’s Theatre Movement and the like. They went to the people, connected with them and theatre returned. Then in the 1970s and 1980s Habib Tanvir and B.V. Karanth tried. But the situation is still bleak.

How did Charaka, the women’s cooperative, happen?

At times you tend to become inarticulate because of anger and frustration. I lost faith in the arts. When I left Delhi and NSD, I knew I was going to almost quit theatre too. Those were difficult times; I was confused, angry, frustrated. Charaka made me cool down and look at life positively. I have not given up theatre but now I do it on my terms, from Heggodu with either the villagers or someone who wants me to teach or direct.

Intellectual, spiritual or artistic labour is not labour but a power. People in villages tend to leave in search of better pastures. I tried to stop this. Charaka is engaged in producing naturally dyed cotton handloom garments, marketing it under the brand name “Desi”. It is a self-sufficient cooperative in the sense that once raw yarn is purchased, everything else happens in-house. The workers are their own paymasters here and earn handsomely. We have 11 Desi retail outlets across Karnataka. The demand for the products is so high that we cannot start any new outlets. Desi has been very successful, beyond my dreams.

How tough was this initiative for a theatre activist?

Initially there was a lot of resistance. Groups tried to stop me from doing this because I had this Marxist tag. But it was a learning experience. I learned that, in a village, you cannot be a “red rag.” You cannot be branded. A whole lot of changes happened in me ideologically. I still believe in socialism, but I don’t believe in pushing angrily for it.

Fraying threads – The Hindu.

In Pochampalli, none of the sons of the late National awardee Chiluveru Ramalingam, who wove Telia Rumal products, have taken up weaving as their profession. All have chosen alternative professions to weaving as they have seen their father’s struggle for economic stability.

The last stronghold of Telia Rumal production, Puttapaka village still has few practitioners who are mainly youngsters who have undergone training in Telia Rumal process through government training programmes.

Today, the Telia Rumal survives in miniscule pockets in few villages that one can count on one’s hand in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. One by one our rich textile traditions are dying out and soon they will be only a figment of memory and part of museum collections. The story of the Telia Rumal of Andhra Pradesh is symptomatic of the fate of the dying textile traditions of our country.

Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

A recent visit to Koyyalagudem village in Andhra Pradesh, one of the known production centres of the exquisite and nearly extinct Telia Rumal, presented only a grim picture of the future of the Telia Rumal. Older weavers dimly recalled having once woven Telia Rumals once upon a time. The younger weavers, in turn, had only heard of the older weavers having woven them and many had not even seen a Telia Rumal.

The stunning Telia Rumal was initially woven mainly in Chirala in Andhra Pradesh in the 19th and 20th centuries primarily as a trade cloth for export to Arab countries where the square 44 inch by 44 inch oil processed cloth was in much demand. Locally, it catered to fishermen and agricultural labourers who wore it, as it kept them warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. It was also woven as sarees and dupattas which were further embellished with embroidery by the niche women clientele of Hyderabad.

One of the most intricate double ikats, Telia Rumal is characterised by a special yarn preparation process which gives its unique character. The preparation of the yarn before the dyeing process involves the treatment of the yarn with sheep dung, castor pod ashes and sesame oil over a month. At the end of the process the yarn has a slight oil smell and sheen which gives its name “Telia Rumal”.

Weavers have shifted to non-weaving occupations due to low remuneration associated with weaving, increasing availability of steady income jobs in Hyderabad such as security guards at malls, ATM centres etc., and changing aspirations. The younger generation in weavers’ families does not want to be involved with weaving. Many are educated and have well paying jobs.

Given this scenario, production is limited, and only due to the persistence of Padmashri Gajam Goverdhan of Murli Saree Emporium in Hyderabad, that limited but continuous production of Telia Rumal sarees continues to this day. Sarees continue to be produced not merely of the traditional Telia Rumal design repertoire but from the modern design repertoire of the Viswakarma exhibitions of Festivals of India. Despite a sustainable niche market demand, there is a highly limited supply which has been made possible by private entrepreneurship, fashion designers, and limited State government support.

Telia Rumal’s re-invention as a significant textile heritage item within the country, is a post-Independence phenomenon, mainly due to the successive government interventions. The building of the brand “Telia Rumal” products has not occurred which in turn, has not created a brand image and new markets.

Due to its limited production for niche markets, it is not commonly available in shops and boutiques. As a result, today’s younger generation is not aware of this textile heritage and there is absence of demand for Telia Rumal products.

Outsiders having been fed upon a rich diet of textile books about the glorious textile traditions of our country wander into the villages hoping to see and buy one of the pieces. But sadly, neither is there the production of the original Telia Rumal, nor there is enough production of the Telia Rumal products for them to buy and appreciate the intricate weave and stunning designs. In an era, where the young generation within India and overseas is discovering its rich textile tradition, and where there is the possibility of an increasing niche market for expensive niche products, it is ironic, that instead of a revival, the Telia Rumal appears to be on its way out. Would its future lay in being a studio product and practiced by professional designers?

Translating or transcending – The Hindu.

We are a polyglot nation, and we have knowledge of at least two languages: we have a mother tongue and a language in which we have been educated at school and college, which is often different from the mother tongue. Often this second is English. Every language you learn has its own sensibilities and its own idiom. It has its own registers, value systems, class distinctions and levels of the acceptable and the unacceptable. Each language that we know sensitises us differently to different things, and develops in us different personalities with different sensibilities.

Each time we switch to another language, we subtly shift to being another person. Our gestures and facial expressions also alter accordingly. A language is not simply about words and sentences, it is also about pauses, emphasis, intonation, cadence, pitch, silences; the appropriate use of these in sentences and words is what creates the meaning of what we say, and conveys nuances.

In translation of texts, the non-verbal aspects of language are hidden until the text reaches the reader. But to get the text to reach the reader in a way that the reader interprets the semantic signals to create the same meaning is the job of the translator. A translator of literary texts especially has to be acutely conscious of the different personalities he/she has developed in different languages. The moment of translation is the moment when the translator’s two personalities in two different languages are in dialogue with each other. It is the moment of interlocution between the two personalities of the same person. Only then can the eternal argument of ‘faithful’ and ‘beautiful’ be resolved in translation, because it is then transcended, and we reach another level of understanding about translations. Faithful and beautiful are no longer opposed to each other and are no longer even players.

In the knowing of another tongue, which maybe indigenous or foreign, in therefore developing of an alternate personality, we create space for the understanding of Another. Translation, comparative literature and writing in a second language all constantly pose the question of rapports with Another.

If we take as a preliminary truth that all societies are based on some Universal Human Values, it becomes extremely limiting. We then narrow ourselves down and choose texts and subjects that we feel represent those universal values which we understand also as our own. In such a case we close doors to understanding the Other. The Other cannot be Another unless he/she has Otherness. If we do not acknowledge the otherness of the other, if we think we know their truths already, then we close our minds and do not go out in search of their otherness. In such a case in translation we are actually just searching for mirror images of our own selves and we are not transcending ourselves or the texts. What would be the value of translation when we do not want to know why someone/something represents or IS another?

Translation and work between languages also fulfils the ambassadorial function of creating empathy and understanding between cultures, but only when we are ready to acknowledge and value the differences, (Otherness) to accept them for what they are, to see how these very differences enrich and strengthen societies.

Repository of memories – The Hindu.

When we revisit favourite songs, books and movies we encounter our earlier selves and experiences.

That episode set me thinking of the role art plays in our lives. As we age, our favourite songs, books and movies become a repository of our memories. When we revisit them, we encounter our earlier selves, the people we knew then, the experiences that shaped us… Since I have spent a good part of my life with books, I have several memories stashed away in them.

When I began the book, I would often speak to my grandfather about it. He hadn’t read it, but the movie was one of his favourites. I remember how he kept referring to Scarlett as Vivien Leigh and to Rhett as Clark Gable. He wanted me to enlighten him about the parts of the book that were edited out of the movie version. As the months passed, however, we stopped talking as tuberculosis took possession of his body. He was bedridden for several months before he died. By the end, he was unable to speak or comprehend, and barely had any flesh on his bones. To this day I retain some of the horror of watching the life seep out of him. You don’t really know death until it happens to a loved one, and there is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for the experience. ( reminds of my GF )

A character in the Argentinean movie classic The Secret in Their Eyes says: “Memories are all we end up with. At least pick the nice ones.”

A life amid rare books – The Hindu.

Bibliophiles in India will know how truly rare it is to find a rare books shop in this country. I was thrilled beyond words and, when I had finished slavering over the books (restored and shelved with impeccable care), exclaimed that I just had to write about his marvellous antiquarian bookshop, which was two rooms on the terrace of his house in Basavanagudi. With equal intensity, he forbade me to write about him or his East-West Bookshop. He was content, he said, with a customer base drawn from word-of-mouth. “I don’t like too many people coming here,” he added.

…………..I should clarify here that the stock I speak of was not choc-a-bloc with rarities or first editions or even anything like very scarce or expensive editions. Its uniqueness and charm lay in being well-preserved old editions; some genuinely antiquarian, many out of print, all gathered fetchingly in one room. A room full of gilt-edged antiquarian book spines is something to behold. And then there is the smell of leather and fine paper ageing, and the delicate feel of tissue guards over illustrations. Rao managed to make every copy on his shelf desirable and valuable by simply presenting them with antiquarian flair, wrapping them in Mylar sleeves or clear acetate plastic. All of it has gone now, thanks to a quiet deal he made with a longstanding customer, knowing the end was near. Several book dealers made discreet inquiries about the fate of the East-West stock, and were told by the family that the books along with the shelves had been sold en bloc. They are, one hopes, with a collector now and perhaps will be well cared for.

A naturally fine and witty raconteur, Rao could regale you with fantastic and wonderful stories about second-hand booksellers and the used book trade. Mostly self-taught (though more than once he acknowledged Murthy of Select Bookshop as mentoring him in the trade), Madhava Rao had a genius for recognising an interesting edition, spotting uncommon editions, pursuing them relentlessly and then, if the copy required it, restoring it so you, his customer, could hold in your hand an antiquarian edition whose condition was more than just acceptable.

Rao was known for being a skilled restorer of crumbling books. ……….One tiny shelf, in particular in that tiny room, held much fascination for me: it housed literature, mostly late 19th century and early 20th century editions of English and European authors.

Here, on Rao’s little shelf, to my astonishment, were several rows of antiquarian editions in fairly desirable condition. As the antiquarian market mantra goes, ‘Condition is not all, it is everything.’ Among other things, I found an 1894 Gulliver’s Travels , an 1889 Three Men and a Boat , a deluxe 1912 Pilgrim’s Progress , and a 1905 Essays of Elia . I remember my bibliophile friend found a beautiful edition of The Second Jungle Book , a snake embossed in gold on the cover.

His colleagues and customers knew that he began buying interesting, uncommon editions and hoarding them for himself and, only later in the late 1990s, turned from book collector to bookseller. It was also well known that, even as a struggling book dealer, he always kept a low profile, though no one could really say why. Some speculate he had private reasons for not advertising the bookshop.

Knowing the obsessive intensity and passion with which he conducted all his book transactions — from buying, restoring, and selling and coming back for more fervent buying (he book-hunted in every corner of the city, ferrying his loot back in an auto) — I think it was just so he could be left alone to study and play with his antiquarian loot: to savour, enjoy, and take in an edition’s bibliographical qualities, to work his magic on broken copies with those hands, and only after such bibliophilic ritual and intimacy, offer them up to fellow antiquarians for their contemplation, pleasure and possession.