One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hawthorne "Clips": England's Lake District: Windermere


In the evening, just before eight o'clock, I took a walk alone, by a road which goes up the hill, back of our hotel, and which I supposed might be the road to the town of Windermere. But it went up higher and higher, and for the mile or two that it led me along, winding up, I saw no traces of a town; but at last it turned into a valley between two high ridges, leading quite away from the lake, within view of which the town of Windermere is situated. It was a very lonely road, though as smooth, hard, and well kept as any thoroughfare in the suburbs of a city; hardly a dwelling on either side, except one, half barn, half farm-house, and one gentleman's gateway, near the beginning of the road, and another more than a mile above. At, two or three points there were stone barns, which are here built with great solidity. At one place there was a painted board, announcing that a field of five acres was to be sold, and referring those desirous of purchasing to a solicitor in London. The lake country is but a London suburb. Nevertheless, the walk was lonely and lovely; the copses and the broad hillside, the glimpses of the lake, the great misty company of pikes and fells, beguiled me into a sense of something like solitude; and the bleating of the sheep, remote and near, had a like tendency. Gaining the summit of the hill, I had the best view of Windermere which I have yet attained,--the best, I should think, that can be had, though, being towards the south, it brings the softer instead of the more striking features of the landscape into view. But it shows nearly the whole extent of the lake, all the way from Lowwood, beyond Newby Bridge, and I think there can hardly be anything more beautiful in the world. The water was like a strip and gleam of sky, fitly set among lovely slopes of earth. It was no broader than many a river, and yet you saw at once that it could be no river, its outline being so different from that of a running stream, not straight nor winding, but stretching to one side or the other, as the shores made room for it.

Hawthorne "Clips": Journal: England: Bloody Footprint + Man at the Station


April 7th.--I dined at Mr. J. P. Heywood's on Thursday, and met there Mr. and Mrs. ------ of Smithell's Hall. The Hall is an old edifice of some five hundred years, and Mrs. ------ says there is a bloody footstep at the foot of the great staircase. The tradition is that a certain martyr, in Bloody Mary's time, being examined before the occupant of the Hall, and committed to prison, stamped his foot, in earnest protest against the injustice with which he was treated. Blood issued from his foot, which slid along the stone pavement, leaving a long footmark, printed in blood. And there it has remained ever since, in spite of the scrubbings of all succeeding generations. Mrs. ------ spoke of it with much solemnity, real or affected. She says that they now cover the bloody impress with a carpet, being unable to remove it. In the History of Lancashire, which I looked at last night, there is quite a different account,--according to which the footstep is not a bloody one, but is a slight cavity or inequality in the surface of the stone, somewhat in the shape of a man's foot with a peaked shoe. The martyr's name was George Marsh. He was a curate, and was afterwards burnt. Mrs. ------ asked me to go and see the Hall and the footmark; and as it is in Lancashire, and not a great way off, and a curious old place, perhaps I may.


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 July 4th.--I left Leamington on Monday, shortly after twelve, having been accompanied to the railway station by U---- and J-----, whom I sent away before the train started. While I was waiting, a rather gentlemanly, well-to-do, English-looking man sat down by me, and began to talk of the Crimea, of human affairs in general, of God and his Providence, of the coming troubles of the world, and of spiritualism, in a strange free way for an Englishman, or, indeed, for any man. It was easy to see that he was an enthusiast of some line or other. He being bound for Birmingham and I for Rugby, we soon had to part; but he asked my name, and told me his own, which I did not much attend to, and immediately forgot.
 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

View of Yosemite Valley


Some Delta flight to Sacramento. Not a great pic but not bad -- through an airplane window, darkly. Also, at least it appeared to be the case in the original: haze or smoke. Makes sense with all the fires up that way this summer. Anyway, I played with them a bit and got the results below. Half Dome is in the top middle, El Capitan is in the bottom middle.

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[From: A. Z-Swihart]


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hawthorne Journals: England: Miss Martineau


I think I neglected to record that I saw Miss Martineau a few weeks since. She is a large, robust, elderly woman, and plainly dressed; but withal she has so kind, cheerful, and intelligent a face that she is pleasanter to look at than most beauties. Her hair is of a decided gray, and she does not shrink from calling herself old. She is the most continual talker I ever heard; it is really like the babbling of a brook, and very lively and sensible too; and all the while she talks, she moves the bowl of her ear-trumpet from one auditor to another, so that it becomes quite an organ of intelligence and sympathy between her and yourself. The ear-trumpet seems a sensible part of her, like the antennae of some insects. If you have any little remark to make, you drop it in; and she helps you to make remarks by this delicate little appeal of the trumpet, as she slightly directs it towards you; and if you have nothing to say, the appeal is not strong enough to embarrass you. All her talk was about herself and her affairs; but it did not seem like egotism, because it was so cheerful and free from morbidness. And this woman is an Atheist, and thinks that the principle of life will become extinct when her body is laid in the grave! I will not think so; were it only for her sake. What! only a few weeds to spring out of her mortality, instead of her intellect and sympathies flowering and fruiting forever!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Freedom's Just Another Word ...

Coffee with a friend who's lost his phone. Solo walk. Ode to a Green Urn (cats are poets too) and a few other trinkets. School hasn't started but it's already so palpable it's invading my dreams ...

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

William Allingham's "The Faeries"


Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow,
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
For pleasure here and there.
If any man so daring
As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

William Allingham (1824 - 1889)


Don't have the time or energy to follow up all the leads Hawthorne has been sending my way via his foreign journals (he was the American Consul in Liverpool for a few years), but this one was worthwhile because it led to "The Faeries." Kiddish perhaps by contemporary standards, but something I imagine the young Yeats swallowed whole.


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William Allingham (19 March 1824 – 18 November 1889) was an Irish poet, diarist and editor. He wrote several volumes of lyric verse, and his poem 'The Faeries' was much anthologised; but he is better known for his posthumously published Diary,[1] in which he records his lively encounters with Tennyson, Carlyle and other writers and artists. His wife, Helen Allingham, was a well-known water-colorist and illustrator.

[From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Allingham ]

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hawthorne: End of "Chiefly ..."


I am sorry for them, though it is by no means a sorrow without hope. Since the matter has gone so far, there seems to be no way but to go on winning victories, and establishing peace and a truer union in another generation, at the expense, probably, of greater trouble, in the present one, than any other people ever voluntarily suffered. We woo the South "as the Lion wooes his bride;" it is a rough courtship, but perhaps love and a quiet household may come of it at last. Or, if we stop short of that blessed consummation, heaven was heaven still, as Milton sings, after Lucifer and a third part of the angels had seceded from its golden palaces,--and perhaps all the more heavenly, because so many gloomy brows, and soured, vindictive hearts, had gone to plot ineffectual schemes of mischief elsewhere.
[We regret the innuendo in the concluding sentence. The war can never be allowed to terminate, except in the complete triumph of Northern principles. We hold the event in our own hands, and may choose whether to terminate it by the methods already so successfully used, or by other means equally within our control, and calculated to be still more speedily efficacious. In truth, the work is already done.
We should be sorry to cast a doubt on the Peaceable Man's loyalty, but he will allow us to say that we consider him premature in his kindly feelings towards traitors and sympathizers with treason. As the author himself says of John Brown (and, so applied, we thought it an atrociously cold-blooded dictum), "any common-sensible man would feel an intellectual satisfaction in seeing them hanged, were it only for their preposterous miscalculation of possibilities." There are some degrees of absurdity that put Reason herself into a rage, and affect us like an intolerable crime,--which this Rebellion is, into the bargain.]

Hawthorne: Willard's Hotel: Washington D.C.


We saw at Willard's many who had thus found out for themselves, that, when Nature gives a young man no other utilizable faculty, she must be understood as intending him for a soldier. The bulk of the army had moved out of Washington before we reached the city; yet it seemed to me that at least two thirds of the guests and idlers at the hotel were one or another token of the military profession.

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Franklin Pierce Discovers Hawthorne's Dead Body


The "clip" and letter fragment are from the following website: http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/franklin-pierce-discovers-the-body-of-nathaniel-hawthorne/

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The two friends left Boston together and traveled to Pierce’s home in Concord, N.H., and traveled to Dixville Notch once the weather was good enough. On May 18, 1864, they were returning through Plymouth. They turned in at the Pemigewasset Hotel, where Hawthorne took a nap, ate a bit of food and drank a cup of tea before going to bed. Pierce, in a letter four years later, described what happened next:

Passing from his room to my own, leaving the door open and so placing the lamp that its direct rays would not fall upon him and yet enable me to see distinctly from my bed, I betook myself to rest too, a little after ten o'clock. But I awoke before twelve, and noticed that he was lying in a perfectly natural position, like a child, with his right hand under his cheek. That noble brow and face struck me as more grand serenely calm then than ever before. With new hope that such undisturbed repose might bring back fresh vigor, I fell asleep again; but he was so very restless the night previous that I was surprised and startled when I noticed, at three o'clock, that his position was identically the same as when I observed him between eleven and twelve. Hastening softly to his bedside, I could not perceive that he breathed, although no change had come over his features. I seized his wrist, but found no pulse; ran my hands down upon his bare side, but the great, generous, brave heart beat no more.


Hawthorne Meets Uncle Abe in Washington D.C.


By and by there was a little stir on the staircase and in the passage-way, and in lounged a tall, loose-jointed figure, of an exaggerated Yankee port and demeanor, whom (as being about the homeliest man I ever saw, yet by no means repulsive or disagreeable) it was impossible not to recognize as Uncle Abe.

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Unquestionably, Western man though he be, and Kentuckian by birth, President Lincoln is the essential representative of all Yankees, and the veritable specimen, physically, of what the world seems determined to regard as our characteristic qualities.
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This suggestion gave Uncle Abe rather a delicate task in his reply, because, slight as the matter seemed, it apparently called for some declaration, or intimation, or faint foreshadowing of policy in reference to the conduct of the war, and the final treatment of the Rebels. But the President's Yankee aptness and not-to-be-caughtness stood him in good stead, and he jerked or wiggled himself out of the dilemma with an uncouth dexterity that was entirely in character; although, without his gesticulation of eye and month,--and especially the flourish of the whip, with which he imagined himself touching up a pair of fat horses,--I doubt whether his words would be worth recording, even if I could remember them. The gist of the reply was, that he accepted the whip as an emblem of peace; not punishment; and, this great affair over, we retired out of the presence in high good-humor, only regretting that we could not have seen the President sit down and fold up his legs (which is said to be a most extraordinary spectacle), or have heard him tell one of those delectable stories for which he is so celebrated. A good many of them are afloat upon the common talk of Washington, and are certainly the aptest, pithiest, and funniest little things imaginable; though, to be sure, they smack of the frontier freedom, and would not always bear repetition in a drawing-room, or on the immaculate page of the Atlantic. [The above passage relating to President Lincoln was one of those omitted from the article as originally published, and the following note was appended to explain the omission, which had been indicated by a line of points:-- We are compelled to omit two or three pages, in which the author describes the interview, and gives his idea of the personal appearance and deportment of the President. The sketch appears to have been written in a benign spirit, and perhaps conveys a not inaccurate impression of its august subject; but it lacks reverence, and it pains us to see a gentleman of ripe age, and who has spent years under the corrective influence of foreign institutions, falling into the characteristic and most ominous fault of Young America.]
 
 
 

Hawthorne Encounters Emanuel Leutze in Washington D.C.



Knocking at a rough, temporary door, we thrust a card beneath; and in a minute or two it was opened by a person in his shirt-sleeves, a middle-aged figure, neither tall nor short, of Teutonic build and aspect, with an ample beard of a ruddy tinge and chestnut hair. He looked at us, in the first place, with keen and somewhat guarded eyes, as if it were not his practice to vouchsafe any great warmth of greeting, except upon sure ground of observation. Soon, however, his look grew kindly and genial (not that it had ever been in the least degree repulsive, but only reserved), and Leutze allowed us to gaze at the cartoon of his great fresco, and talked about it unaffectedly, as only a man of true genius can speak of his own works. Meanwhile the noble design spoke for itself upon the wall. A sketch in color, which we saw afterwards, helped us to form some distant and flickering notion of what the picture will be, a few months hence, when these bare outlines, already so rich in thought and suggestiveness, shall glow with a fire of their own,--a fire which, I truly believe, will consume every other pictorial decoration of the Capitol, or, at least, will compel us to banish those stiff and respectable productions to some less conspicuous gallery. The work will be emphatically original and American, embracing characteristics that neither art nor literature have yet dealt with, and producing new forms of artistic beauty from the natural features of the Rocky-Mountain region, which Leutze seems to have studied broadly and minutely. The garb of the hunters and wanderers of those deserts, too, under his free and natural management, is shown as the most picturesque of costumes. But it would be doing this admirable painter no kind office to overlay his picture with any more of my colorless and uncertain words; so I shall merely add that it looked full of energy, hope, progress, irrepressible movement onward, all represented in a momentary pause of triumph; and it was most cheering to feel its good augury at this dismal time, when our country might seem to have arrived at such a deadly stand-still.

From Hawthorne's "Chiefly About War Matters"



Will the time ever come again, in America, when we may live half a score of years without once seeing the likeness of a soldier, except it be in the festal march of a company on its summer tour? Not in this generation, I fear, nor in the next, nor till the Millennium; and even that blessed epoch, as the prophecies seem to intimate, will advance to the sound of the trumpet.

Emanuel Leutze's "Westward Ho!"



 
[From Wikipedia]


Emanuel Leutze (1816 - 1868)

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (May 24, 1816 – July 18, 1868) was a German American history painter best known for his painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting.

New York City and Washington D.C.

In 1859, Leutze returned to the United States and opened a studio in New York City.[2] He divided his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.[9] In 1859, he painted a portrait of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney which hangs in the Harvard Law School. In a 1992 opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia described the portrait of Taney, made two years after Taney's infamous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, as showing Taney "in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep-set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment."

Leutze also executed other portraits, including one of fellow painter William Morris Hunt. That portrait was owned by Hunt's brother Leavitt Hunt, a New York attorney and sometime Vermont resident, and was shown at an exhibition devoted to William Morris Hunt's work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1878.[10]

In 1860 Leutze was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to decorate a stairway in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, for which he painted a large composition, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, which is also commonly known as Westward Ho!.

Late in life, he became a member of the National Academy of Design. He was also a member of the Union League Club of New York, which has a number of his paintings. He died in Washington, D.C., in his 52nd year, of heatstroke. He was interred at Glenwood Cemetery.[11] At the time of his death, a painting, The Emancipation of the Slaves, was in preparation.[5]

Leutze's portraits are known less for their artistic quality than for their patriotic emotionalism. Washington Crossing the Delaware firmly ranks among the American national iconography, and is thus often caricatured.


[From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Leutze]

Walking: 8.5.17 + Mr. Hawk

My Bucks. Walked before the sun and consort heat came out. One friend left me and another popped up along the Lagoon. A few lines from Hawthorne re the Civil War and his visiting of the USS Monitor, mostly in the golf course john. Once I finished my business (carefully), Tolstoy walked in for his.

Home again, I had Mr. Hawk waiting for me. I suggested he get out of the puddle and he jumped to the fence. As I passed he jumped to the tree. Anyway ...

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Nathaniel Hawthorne "Clips"

Tried two other Melville novels (couldn't get into them). Will attempt The Whale (read some of it years ago but never finished) some other day. Moved to Hawthorne: Travel Journals and a few short stories that supposedly zoom in on the sin-factor.

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Travel Journals: From one of Hawthorne's visits to St. Peter's (I remember this mosaic):

To-day I walked out along the Pincian Hill. . . . . As the clouds still threatened rain, I deemed it my safest course to go to St. Peter's for refuge. Heavy and dull as the day was, the effect of this great world of a church was still brilliant in the interior, as if it had a sunshine of its own, as well as its own temperature; and, by and by, the sunshine of the outward world came through the windows, hundreds of feet aloft, and fell upon the beautiful inlaid pavement. . . . . Against a pillar, on one side of the nave, is a mosaic copy of Raphael's Transfiguration, fitly framed within a great arch of gorgeous marble; and, no doubt, the indestructible mosaic has preserved it far more completely than the fading and darkening tints in which the artist painted it. At any rate, it seemed to me the one glorious picture that I have ever seen.

Toward the end of "Earth's Holocaust":

"Poh, poh, my good fellows!" said a dark-complexioned personage, who now joined the group--his complexion was indeed fearfully dark, and his eyes glowed with a redder light than that of the bonfire--"Be not so cast down, my dear friends; you shall see good days yet. There is one thing that these wiseacres have forgotten to throw into the fire, and without which all the rest of the conflagration is just nothing at all--yes; though they had burnt the earth itself to a cinder!"
"And what may that be?" eagerly demanded the Last Murderer.
"What but the human heart itself!" said the dark-visaged stranger, with a portentous grin. "And, unless they hit upon some method of purifying that foul cavern, forth from it will re-issue all the shapes of wrong and misery--the same old shapes, or worse ones--which they have taken such a vast deal of trouble to consume to ashes. I have stood by, this live-long night, and laughed in my sleeve at the whole business. Oh, take my word for it, it will be the old world yet!"  
This brief conversation supplied me with a theme for lengthened thought. How sad a truth--if true it were--that Man's age-long endeavor for perfection had served only to render him the mockery of the Evil Principle, from the fatal circumstance of an error at the very root of the matter! The Heart--the Heart--there was the little yet boundless sphere, wherein existed the original wrong, of which the crime and misery of this outward world were merely types. Purify that inner sphere; and the many shapes of evil that haunt the outward, and which now seem almost our only realities, will turn to shadowy phantoms, and vanish of their own accord. But, if we go no deeper than the Intellect, and strive, with merely that feeble instrument, to discern and rectify what is wrong, our whole accomplishment will be a dream; so unsubstantial, that it matters little whether the bonfire, which I have so faithfully described, were what we choose to call a real event, and a flame that would scorch the finger--or only a phosphoric radiance, and a parable of my own brain!
 
 

Cobh Houses


 
 
 
 



Charlie's Brother

By the time we got there only two were left: Charlie & His Bro. The bro was very lethargic and, apparently, the runt. Charlie was full of life, not to mention a brindle, and so we made our choice.
Nowadays, from time to time, we question our choice. :)

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Morning in Seal Beach


 
 
 



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Charlies Does Geometry



 
 
 



Nth Epiphany

Almost lost my phone on this one. Charlie jerks and phone goes flying. (I guess the protector did its job.)

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Nth Roundabout: Groundbreaking

Let's slow it down: UK style. Of course these little guys (a trend in some parts of Long Beach) are nothing like what you deal with in the UK or Ireland. Whatever works. Or keeps people employed.

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