Filled with Stillness

“From its other end a path masked by laurel led to the back entrance of the stables: a mere doorless slit between coach-house and harness room, so dark and narrow that any child at once recognized it for a secret passage; as all secret passages should, it opened (at least when the sun shone) upon splendour. For stables are built of brick, whatever mode a house follows, and weathered brick, in sun, holds all the colours of a zinnia; moreover the roofs were blue slate, and the doors and sills painted green; and wherever mortar had dropped, or paint flaked away, a yellowish lichen spread rich as velvet. To the right rose the end wall of the house, to the left stables for three horses with a hayloft above; directly opposite wide gates opened on the drive. The space thus enclosed, when Mr. Brocken entered, was filled with stillness as a cistern is filled with water: not even his own footfall sounded, the cobbles were so overgrown.”

— From The Foolish Gentlewoman (1948) by Margery Sharp

His Richest Aunt

Elephant

Gleanings from How to Be a Motorist (1939) by K.R.G. Browne with illustrations by Heath Robinson:

“This handy, decorative, valuable, and uncostly volume, on which so much loving care and ink has been expended by the compilers, is dedicated in admiring sympathy (on the artist’s part) and sympathetic admiration (on the author’s) to that badgered but unconquerable little creature, the British Motorist, or fate’s football.”

“As one trudges along life’s highway, humming an old Andalusian air and in momentary peril of annihilation by mechanically propelled vehicles…”

“Like the mind of a Cabinet Minister — or a hen under the influence of vodka — the early motor-car moved in such mysterious ways that it was often hard to say if it were coming, going, or just oscillating slightly.”

“In very large and costly cars, such as those in which financiers and film stars visit their aged parents in the almshouse…”

“The urge to take his car abroad for a spell, thus Getting Away From It All, is one that attacks every motorist occasionally, usually after a heavy meal of cold boiled pork or on learning that his richest aunt has left her all to a Cats’ Home.”

The World Almanac

Almanac

Roger Greer, a professor of mine in library school, said that 95% of all reference questions could be answered from the World Almanac. I have always had a copy at hand. Has someone told you that the Constitution is a perfect document? It’s in the almanac; you can read it and decide for yourself. All facts, no opinions. Seeing this cover at the dump this morning reminded me of what a treasure this volume is.