A selection of words and pictures to represent August’s reading
a notebook in which quotations, poems, remarks, etc, that catch the owner’s attention are entered
“You see?” Luc’s voice was close, and quiet. “Beautiful. I’m sure it was a good house in its time as well, but sometimes what is left behind when something is lost is even better than the thing that came before, you know?”
Why does the menagerie at the Tower of London not include a King and Queen – in a cage like the lions and bears? “Here, ladies and gentlemen, we have a genuine King and Queen, to amaze you with their antics. The wonder of the world is, they’re very like you ordinary folk!” We’d get as big an audience as a two-headed calf.
Each time I turn these brittle pages, and imagine the Colonel camped right outside my window, writing by campfire, meeting the first people of this land, it feels like time has collapsed and the past is happening now. This is what made me fall in love with history.
“Yes, sir. Going away, sir?”
“I’m going to the devil,” said Tommy, regardless of the menial’s feelings.
That functionary, however, merely replied respectfully:
“Yes, sir. Shall I call a taxi?”
“We cherish a theory that to listen to warnings, or act upon them, is a sign of panic and shows loss of confidence, and we would rather lose our lives any day then be accused of either. It is an exasperating trait. The kind that curls in on itself and ends by eating its own tail, because precautions that are not taken in time of peace cannot be taken when a crisis is imminent,for the simple reason that to take them then creates panic and loss of confidence at a time when one can afford to do neither.”
Mary laid aside the letter she had received from her cousin Charles.
“Tolerance,” she muttered to herself as she sat in the gathering dusk. It was still very warm and the windows of her chamber were open but the air was oppressive and sultry and her head ached. She repeated the word. How could she be tolerant when she had been persecuted for her beliefs, had been on the point of desperate flight? It was all very well for Charles to talk blithely of being tolerant, she thought; he had not suffered.
Francis had saved her from that world, the world where indigo and violet meant bruises, and brought her to a place where they meant summer storm clouds over Florence.
“Innocent?” He was incensed at her suggestion he was somehow responsible for this mess. “I’ve done nothing wrong, I intend nothing wrong. I am innocent!”
“Half the evil in this world occurs while decent people stand by and do nothing wrong. It’s not enough to refrain from evil, Trell. People have to attempt to do right, even if they believe they cannot succeed.”
She gave him a long appraising look. It don’t do to dwell too much on what’s gone, Mr. Foole, she sighed. It ain’t easy, I know it. I tell Hettie the past is writ. But tomorrow ain’t never existed before. Not in the whole history of the world.
Some of the children were getting restless. It was time to move on. “I like writing fiction,” I said. “That’s what I do.”
“Aren’t you worried that your books might be considered irrelevant?”
“I don’t think they have to be real to be relevant.”
Margaret became a little calmer. “Your Majesty has been most kind. I am sorry to have burdened you with my problems.”
“Because I am a Queen ’tis often forgotten that I am also a woman,” Elizabeth answered sadly.
“Don’t think of the obstacles that lie between now and the moment when we confront him.” The ship spoke in a low, soft voice. “Long or short, if you worry about every step of a journey, you will divide it endlessly to pieces, any one of which may defeat you. Look only to the end.”
Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb (2000)
Favourite books read in August: Shadow of the Moon, The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny