Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sitting still, connections, switches

In this cold weather, I have notice that pigeons sit perfectly still, like decoy pigeons, in the bare branches of trees. I am not sure whether it is because they are conserving energy, asleep, or too cold to do anything else.

In the last six months I have gained particular pleasure from three books - The Three Musketeers, The Woman who Walked in the Sea by Frederick Dard, and Bleak House. I have just begun a fourth called The Five Hundred Millions of the Begum by Jules Verne. There was no reason for the choice, other than a combination of chance and inclination. Yet there is an unexpected connection between the first two and the second two. The central character of the Woman who Walked in the Sea is known as Milady, a deliberate reference to a character in The Three Musketeers, also known as Mildady. In the Jules Verne story there is a reference, in a threatened legal confrontation, to Jarndyce v Jarndyce, the interminable case in chancery which is central to the plot of Bleak House.

There is a special pleasure in switches, some more than others. There is a small table lamp recently come into our house which has a simple, metal lever switch, comfortable to touch and with an immensely satisfying click.

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