Saturday, December 29, 2007

Poetica aloft

They leapt to their feet, and as they gathered books, papers, chessmen, Stephen said, 'I am so glad to hear what you tell me, about Aristotle. I had forgotten those words or had skipped them--the whole book I read with a cross, superficial mind, having taken against him in those far-off days because of his weak remarks about birds and for his having brought up that showy brute-beast Alexander, as great a public nuisance as our Buonaparte--but of course he was the great learned man of the world.' He lowered himself through the lubber's hole, and as he hung there by his elbows with his feet searching for the shrouds below he said to himself, 'Tonight is perhaps Jack's true peripety. Dear Lord, how I pray that his tragedy may end happy and that. . .' Here kindly hands seized his ankles, guiding them to a firm foothold.

--Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque

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