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A few days later over breakfast Mr F- remarks that there seems nothing for it but for Mrs F- to come to Town for a few days to be measured and fitted &C and talk with Docket, and he proposes that she should come as soon as he has returned and can take the works in hand. She has the kindest offers of hospitality from Lady J- and Lady W-, and I am not sure which she would prefer.
O, says I, she would certainly wish to stay with Lady W-, because of her concern for poor Lady W- that has no female relatives apart from her hypochondriackal crocodile of a mother-in-law, and is now in a condition where a woman feels the need of the counsel of an older woman who has experienced motherhood. Also, Lady J- is surely much taken up with the preparations for the wedding?
Mr F- frowns. That is very exactly the sort of thing Mrs F- would say, but how come you to hit it off so well?
Why, says I, through something she wrote in a recent letter.
You and Mrs F- are in correspondence? he asks.
O yes, I say, rolling my eyes at him, naturally we need to tattle and complain about that tyrannickal monster, that veritable Grand Turk with whom we are both obliged to put up - no, really, my dear, did you not know? Our letters are much what we might write to sisters that were living distant. I send her tales of our circle, plays I have seen and theatrical gossip, how things go in the household, news of the latest styles and new books. Surely you do not object? I do not recount anything concerning my business dealings: that would be most unsuitable.
Mr F- is silent for a few moments and then grins. If I am ever in a room with the two of you together I can see that I should be teaz'd unmercifully. I agree smiling that this would certainly be the case, for though we are both passing fond of him, gentlemen should be kept in their place for they are liable to get above themselves.
After he has left for a meeting with Biffle about matters at N-, I put on a very plain cloak and set out for the theatre.
There are still those - stage-hands, dressers, &C - that remember me from a child running around backstage, and I therefore make a point of greeting them, asking about those I do not see, and exchanging news, gracefully receiving their compliments about how well I looked in Lord G- R-'s box of late, &C. I am permitted to find a place where I can observe the stage unseen while Mr J- and Miss A- and a few others of the company rehearse his telling business. After Mr J- throws up his hands and says they may get there in the end, but not today, dismissing them, I make my way round to Miss A-'s dressing-room. I have presented her dresser with a small bribe to leave us alone.
I open the door and see dear Miss A- sitting slumped before her mirror.
Well, my dear, the on-dit is that you are grown spoilt and proud and therefore neglect your friends, but I do not think that is the case, for that is not the Miss A- I know.
She gives a jump and turns around. Madame C-, why come you here?
Because you have not come to me as you have been wont, running into my parlour every few days either up in the air or down in the dumps to tell me what's ado with you. Because you have not been seen in your other usual haunts. Do you think no-one notes? It is widely said that your head has been turned by the adulation of the audience.
O, says Miss A-, it is truly not that. No, says I, but there were only three of us in your dressing room that time and none of us are like to reveal what passed there.
Miss A- begins to weep. But after you had gone I had the bitterest quarrel with Lady J- who made quite the vilest aspersions about you and about our relations... she stammers to a halt. Then goes on: But although there was no truth in her accusations, I could have wisht there had been, once she had spoke the idea aloud and put it into my mind. She gives a small wistful smile through her tears.
However, my dear, says I, coming over to sit beside her, I am not myself in the slightest of the Sapphick disposition. There is nothing I admire so much as a fine woman, and I have the greatest affection towards my female friends, but I have not the least desire to towsel-mowsel with any of 'em. My pleasure as well as my business has always been the other sex.
I do know that, sobs Miss A-. And I do still very much incline towards Lady J-, if only she did not hate you so much. She has sent me a very pretty present with a very civil note apologising for what she terms her ill-bred conduct and vulgar accusations and desiring a meeting with me, but I know not what to do.
I think I should disclose to you, since it seems she has not mentioned it, that Lady J- came to me -
She came to you? Miss A- gasps. To your house? To my house, I agree, where I have quite often practised my conniving ways upon her brother His Grace. But she has admitted to having misjudged me (for I think she is now fully persuaded of the truth of my leading him away from his wild youthful extravagances as well as my being entirely reconcil'd to the necessity of his marriage), and revealed to me the depths of her feelings towards you and her extreme distress at your falling out. She came to you? repeats Miss A- in a wondering tone. O, that makes such a difference. Yes, my dear, I say, I think it does. She has the very best of intentions towards you and I think you should at least listen to what she proposes.
O, Madame C-, says Miss A-, you have made me the happiest woman in London, if not the entire kingdom. I laugh very fondly at her. Now, says I, that is my dear Miss A- again. I wish you very happy, my child, and you know that my door is ever open for your visits. I give her a light kiss and depart.
I am more pleased than otherwise to learn how matters stood, for having seen so lately how Mr P- bears grudges, feared that he had moved something against her, which would be a heavier matter to resolve than to reconcile her with Lady J-.
lilliburlero arrived around lunchtime and, after going to drop off luggage at the hostel, we met up with nineveh_uk. Looking for outdoor places to have lunch, we went over to the Vaults at the University Church, but central Oxford was absolutely heaving with tourists. So we decided to escape to points north instead.
We had a lovely lunch at the Gardeners Arms in Jericho, ate their veggie burgers, and spent the afternoon in the back garden. Being under a plum tree, the table had all sorts of interesting little creepy-crawlies on it, but they didn't seem to dampen the discussion. Late afternoon we decamped to have a look around the old John Radcliffe, where Mary Renault once worked. It's been heavily but sympathetically modernised since - we wandered around the humanities common room in the basement trying to imagine surgical theatres and partitioned administrative offices trying to imagine a hospital ward. I should have done a bit of advanced research! But the architecture is lovely and intact, and the boards in the main foyer recording the hospital benefactors are still there.
By this point it still seemed a bit too early for dinner, so we went for more drinks at the Duke of Cambridge, where lilliburlero ended up with the largest stick of celery I've ever seen in a Bloody Mary. Finally to Al Shami for dinner, where we ended up with quite a spread as well as an interesting bottle of Lebanese white wine from Chateau Musar. Our day out concluded around nine hours after it started, at 10.30pm. I was pretty tired but would probably have happily gone on if lilliburlero hadn't needed to catch a coach at an uncivilised hour the following morning.
I'd met lilliburlero once in person, and have been seeing nineveh_uk regularly since moving back to Oxford, but they hadn't met one another before. We made a very congenial group, which pleased but didn't surprise me. On reflection I think I must have talked people's ears off about Mary Renault but they may also have been encouraging me. We ranged across the usual fannish topics - I had a list of new fic ideas as long as my arm, then promptly forgot them - but only got onto Antonia Forest right at the end, which was a shame. Maybe for next time? I'm sure there'll be a next time.
Then this Wednesday, which was not only the hottest day of the year to date but the hottest day in about a decade (around 33C/92F), I went to have dinner with jae, who was in London for one night only. Was rather glad for the excuse to spend two hours on the air-conditioned Oxford Tube, but the trains on the Central line were utterly boiling.
At Exmouth Market everyone seemed to be enjoying the summery evening. jae both introduced me, and extraordinarily kindly treated me to, dinner at Moro. More Lebanese food, which I wasn't sorry about at all! (Though I'm afraid I made myself sound like an expert on eastern Mediterranean food, which I'm not.) The bread is just as nice as Nigel Slater says, the lamb was extraordinarily thin and tender, and the rosewater and cardamom ice cream was lovely. All in a very relaxed atmosphere - and cool as well...
jae and I had no initial awkwardness of meeting. We talked continuously for two hours, were gently encouraged to make way for the next reservation, and went to the nearby park to keep talking. We discussed the sadness of being in fandoms of one (she was, I think, hoping that I would have useful revelations on how to build fandoms out of nothingness, but I'm afraid I don't), the state of the Yuletide plans, the joys of using travel for fannish research, language learning, and how difficult it is to find good meta nowadays. I promised her one meta post on the subject of her choice in exchange for dinner (probably the exchange rate ought to be higher!) so, jae, please let me know what you'd like!
Not sure when the next fannish meeting will be, but if you find yourself in the area, let me know! I've also promised jae an insider's tour of Oxford when she next visits.
In other news I've managed to make an appointment for a haircut at Barberette in London. I've had short hair for quite a while and have spent a good portion of that time longing for interesting short hair, while neither knowing exactly what to ask for nor having any confidence that a random Oxford salon would be the place to ask for it.
I suspect I was inspired by renewed acquaintance with lilliburlero's excellent topknot, which sets a standard for cool haircuts. Not that I could pull it off. Before I go I must spend some time perusing their Instagram. It'll be an experience anyway!
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"As we think today about what divides Americans, I think it boils down to the fact that some Americans no longer want to experiment. They want to close the lab down. We've gone far enough into the unknown, making it known, they say; now let's stop--let's even go backward. We were wrong to conduct some of our experiments in liberty, and that's the source of all our problems. Gay people shouldn't be treated equally. Black people shouldn't run the country. Women shouldn't hold high office. Muslims shouldn't be granted habeas corpus.
"Whenever one of those Americans talks about the problem with our country today, they talk about how we should be like we once were, back when white people who defined marriage as one man-one woman and were Protestant veterans built this nation. They feel they are losing their birthright, their legacy.
"But those Americans are wrong. What their ancestors really were was scientists. Experimenters. Radicals who always considered the impossible possible. To define those ancestral Americans as merely white or straight or Christian strips them of their most stunning feature, their near-supernatural qualities of optimism and defiance and willingness to go into the unknown and make it their home, to make the amazing the norm. They defied the status quo. That's how they built America."
-- R. Sós, 2008-11-16
[To Lynn and Pauline, happy birthday, and to all my countrymen (whether you agree with today's quotation or not), a happy and glorious Independence Day!]
Hey Everyone! We’re so excited to announce that we have tow new products up for pre-sale at gear.jstor.org! One is a collaboration with Out of Print Clothing - they have kindly allowed us to put our “stamp” of approval on their Library tote! We also have a David Foster Wallace inspired “This is Water” bottle, from Faucet Face. Go check them out!
And, enter FREESHIP at checkout to get free shipping worldwide on any order placed this month!
GUYS remember all that sweet JSTOR gear I got, now you can get some too!
The mug, I can say from personal experience, is super hefty and durable.
Title: Five ways medieval recorders ended up in latrines
Note: of the five earliest recorders to survive mostly intact, all from the fourteenth century, four were found in latrines and the other one in a castle moat... possibly after having been thrown down a latrine.
Fandom: medieval European music
Characters: everyone in these ficlets is called Barry... or Bob
Warning: for swears (and some foreswearing too)
1. "Why don't you learn a proper instrument, like the lute? Girls love lutenists! Learn a song like Smell the Glove and they'll be all over you!" *
2. "No, you auditioned for the part of a Recording Angel...." **
3. "I own a whole fucking castle. I don't want the neighbours thinking I can't afford anything better than a fucking recorder player!" ***
4. "You're not going to get any gigs playing that shitty modern music. Nobody likes it. Just throw the mutant flageolet pipe away!" ****
5. "Recorders are an instrument of the Devil. All that 'teh teh bloody teh'. It'd try the patience of Our Lord Himself. Give it here!" *****
1* Turn that lute all the way up to eleven!!1!!
2** There's an actual recordering angel depicted in the altarpiece La Virgen con el Niño, from Santa Clara's church, in Tortosa, Catalonia, by Pere (Pedro) Serra, circa 1390. Oh, the irony!
3*** The castle known as Huis te Merwede, near Dordrecht, in the Netherlands, to be precise. Technically the owner was probably called Daniel van der Merwede but I like to think his friends called him Barry.
4**** There are two historical instruments called flageolets, and this refers to the earlier pipe, obv.
5***** There's a recorder player in a fresco depicting the Mocking of Jesus, in St George's church, in Staro Nagoričane, Macedonia, by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios, after 1315.
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After Chris and John’s posts, a lot of which I agree with, I thought it made sense to look at the third member in the three-cornered disaster in Euroland …
When you look at this series, two things strike the eye. One, good God what a long and deep recession. And two, it was coming to an end. Even the worst policy mistakes don’t last forever and a combination of time, human resilience and the Pigou Effect will usually prevail. Greece had two quarters of consecutive growth at the beginning of 2014. Unemployment also began to fall. They were issuing bonds on the open market and had some hopes of completing the second bailout program with a degree of success.
Then, Syriza happened.
That isn’t quite accurate. The problems were set in motion by the Samaras government, which tried to exit too fast from the program, and refused to agree a third financing package, setting a booby trap which later detonated under the Greek economy. They lost the support of Parliament and then lost the resulting snap election. But then things got really bad.
As I said, when Syriza came to power, they were facing a situation where the second program was about to expire, and a third one had not been agreed. The priority should have been to arrange more financing (I’ve posted elsewhere, in detail, that the massive advantage Greece has over developing world debtors is that it has an economic megapower which is prepared to lend to it at below-market rates. This piece by Paul DeGrauwe gives you an idea of the scale of this advantage. As a proportion of GDP, Greece’s debt service costs are lower than France. If the same interest rates and maturities had been kept, this could only have been achieved by a reduction in the headline amount of about a half.) First, an extension to the second programme needed to be agreed, to buy time. And then, a third program needed to be negotiated.
This wasn’t what Syriza did. They wasted a month or so on refusing to negotiate a program extension, trying instead to agree a four month “bridge” with no conditionality. They even refused to meet with the technical teams administering the program, demanding to deal directly with governments and the IMF. They proliferated new “bright ideas”, some of which were actively ridiculous in terms of their technical quality. And they practiced a studied form of anti-diplomacy. When in Germany – mention the Nazis! When in Italy – claim the country is insolvent! When in Brussels – have shouting matches! And always, leak important proposals and then complain about it on your blog when anyone else does the same.
This wasn’t a negotiating strategy. There was a job of diplomacy to be done here, and it involved building up very delicate matters of trust in an EC which lacks a functioning constitution or institutions, and so where trust is all there is. And it’s hard to build up trust in a party that seems to arrive at every summit having ripped up all the tentative progress made at the last one, and demands that the whole process be restarted on the basis of a brand new proposal of their own invention.
This, according to Deputy Finance Minister Tsakalotos respresented a deliberate policy of generating uncertainty about their commitment to Euro membership (something which, of course, had been a core part of Syriza’s campaign), in order to extract concessions. As such, it might have worked. But it came with a huge cost in terms of confidence in the Greek economy, and in terms of generating capital flight. The one solid achievement of Syriza’s negotiating style is to make sure that, if and when Euro exit happens, there won’t be a single drachma held by an oligarch – their money will all have been moved off shore. And this is a real cost to real people – by the end of the year, the effect of a year’s corrosive uncertainty could be of the order 5% of GDP. This is not “confidence fairy” reasoning – it’s the obvious and predictable effect of an overhanging currency crisis.
And what have they got to show for it? An offer that is very close indeed to one available in February. And, despite the fact that the two sides were inches apart (the fiscal distance was much less than 1% of GDP in terms of the primary surpluses agreed), they walked out and started the current referendum. A referendum in which, like the SNP of last year, Syriza continue to claim to the electorate that their supported “NO” vote would not have any implications for Euro membership, while refusing to even discuss what might happen if they turn out to be wrong. At present, the same polls which present “YES” and “NO” as neck and neck around 42% record Greek support for Euro membership at 75%. This strongly suggests that a lot of people are being misinformed.
I had high hopes for Syriza when they came to power, like lots of people. I still think they’re all intelligent people of integrity. But they were tragically (that word, but it is impossible to avoid) ill-suited to the job that lay before them. The way that they have handled the discussions has been very bad indeed.
Tony Stark and the Sentinel of Liberty: A Marvels Adventure (28096 words) by Sineala
Fandom: Marvel (Comics), Marvel Noir
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Characters: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Nick Fury, Gialetta Nefaria, Incacha
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Sentinels & Guides, Sentinel/Guide Bonding, Pre-Serum Steve Rogers, Post-Serum Steve Rogers, Project Rebirth, Dragons, Makluan Rings, Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Cuddling & Snuggling, Steve Tony Appreciation Celebration Day
Summary: When Project Rebirth fails, leaving the super-soldier serum inert in his veins, Steve Rogers is forced to bid goodbye to his dream of defending his country -- at least, in the way he'd always envisioned it. But his prospects in that regard aren't entirely bleak: he takes a job as chronicler for Tony Stark, the former Marvels adventurer who now serves his country in his typical unorthodox style, hunting down mystical relics before the Nazis can find them. At Tony's side in the jungles of Peru, Steve discovers that the serum works after all -- but it works in ways he could never have imagined.
(Maybe this was a bit much to write in about a week. I may have gotten a little carried away. But, whatever, it was fun. I've never written action/adventure like this before. There are dragons. And cuddling. Here's hoping my exchange recipient actually likes it.)