I shouldn’t have let myself get dragged into it, but I blame Plutarch. Pete read in the Moralia that the Egyptians brought a skeleton to their feasts, to remind themselves that despite the festivities, life is short and death awaits.
Hard is my Lot in Deep Distress To have no help where Most should find Sure Nature meant her sacred Laws Should men as strong as Women bind. (Verse by the mother of a child left at the Foundling Hospital in 1759)
What will survive of us is love. (‘An Arundel Tomb’ – Philip Larkin)
Not to be missed, in the sense that you ought to try Fernet-Branca at least once. A violent, deliberate reaction to the placid Georgian squares around, with the windows laced together in vertical bands. What plain brickwork is left is then carved up by sinister thin pilasters. It is as near to expressing evil as a design can be. (Nairn’s London – Ian Nairn)
The clothes designer has a fierce attachment to her mannequins. ‘They are pure form, you see. No thoughts, no emotions, no self-consciousness. No minds, no souls. Nothing to detract from the garments, nothing to spoil the look, the silhouette.
Lord Semple’s Battalion…wheeled and enclosed them: a scene of carnage ensued: for they discharged with the muzzles of their guns at the rebel breasts, and stabbed em in the back with their Bayonets till they cut them off to a man. Some old military men said they never saw Corpses lye so thick, nor a field so strew with Officers, as that was after the Battle. (from a contemporary account of the Battle of Culloden, quoted in Battles of the ’45 – Katherine Tomasson & Francis Buist)
[You are charged with] committing treachery in that you at Ramsey in Huntingdonshire on the night of 31 January 1941/1 February 1941 descended by parachute with intent to help the enemy. (Court-martial charge against Josef Jakobs, August 1941)
Oh you authors of books and websites about ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’ London. Don’t tell me about bijou shops and foodie haunts, idiosyncratic museums and picturesque parks.