Monday, November 01, 2004

I rarely read mysteries, thrillers or true crime, so it was quite a synchroncity yesterday to come across two severed carotid arteries in my readings--the first in The Fortune of War and the second in Case Histories. I felt quite on edge walking to my car last night and was happy to come home to find the guys had watched Sleepy Hollow without me, sparing me the sight of severed heads on top of my bloody bloody reading. The Washington Irving version is so much more my style.

But I laughed over this paragraph in O'Brian, because it's just so beautifully in character:

"But more than any book," said Stephen, "I do most earnestly recommend a private corpse. Your school cadaver, tossed about in wanton play, your odd heads and parts, indifferently pickled by the porter's wife, are well enough for the coarse processes; but for the fine work, give me a good fresh private corpse, preferably a pauper, to avoid the fat, lovingly preserved in the best spirits of wine, double-refined. Here are eloquent volumes - nocturna versate manu, versate diurna - worth a whole library of mere print: there is your father on the other side of the road. I am sure he will help you to a corpse: he is a worthy man. Do you not perceive your father, Mr Herapath?"

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