They "let it off" on the steps of their hut. It was early, with the sun just slanting through the cross-crossed needles of the casuarinas which lined the creek. There was dew on the grass and their boots were wet from it. The larme batavique caught the light and gathered it in like molten metal straight from a glassworks' glory-hole. It withstood her father's hammer and her mother's axe. And then Lucinda--it was her birthday, after all--took the needle-nosed pliers and snapped--it took a grunt to manage it--the tail.
Fireworks made of glass. An explosion of dew. Crescendo. Diminuendo. Silence.
There are drugs that work the same, and while I am not suggesting that our founder purchased the glassworks to get more drops, it is clear that she had the seed planted, not once, but twice, and knew already the lovely contradictory nature of glass and she did not have to be told, on the day she saw the works at Darling Harbour, that glass is a thing in disguise, an actor, is not solid at all, but a liquid, that an old sheet of glass will not only take on a royal and purplish tinge but will reveal its true liquid nature by having grown fatter at the bottom and thinner at the top, and that even while it is as frail as the ice on a Parramatta puddle, it is stronger under compression than Sydney sandstone, that it is invisible, solid, in short, a joyous and paradoxical thing, as good a material as any to build a life from.
--Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
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