Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Two deaths and an angel

From John Aubrey's Brief Lives, on the death of Francis Bacon:
Mr. Hobbs told me that the cause of his Lordship's death was trying an Experiment; viz. as he was taking the aire in a Coach with Dr. Witherborne (a Scotchman, Physitian to the King) towards High-gate, snow lay on the ground, and it came into my Lord's thoughts, why flesh might not be preserved in snow, as in Salt. They were resolved that they would try the Experiment presently. They alighted out of the Coach and went into a poore woman's house at the bottom of Highgate hill, and bought a Hen, and made the woman exenterate it, and then stuffed the body with Snow, and my Lord did help to doe it himselfe. The Snow so chilled him that he immediately fell so extremely ill, that he could not returne to his Lodging (I suppose then at Graye's Inn) but went to the Earle of Arundel's house at High-gate, where they putt him into a good bed warmed with a Panne, but it was a damp bed that had not been layn-in in about a yeare before, which gave him such a colde that in 2 or 3 dayes as I remember Mr. Hobbes told me, he dyed of suffociation.

From Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens:
The angel Arizaphel collected books. If he were totally honest with himself, he would have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second-hand bookseller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase. Unpleasant damp smells, glowering looks, erratic opening hours—he was incredibly good at it.

And, returning to Barbara Pym, from Crampton Hodnet:
Miss Doggett cleared her throat and said impressively, "I always think it such a pity when I see young people up here wasting their time in doing something which can only bring disgrace upon their families. All this Socialism and Bolshevism, for instance. If you take my advice, Mr. Cherry, you'll have nothing to do with it."
"I don't see how it can bring disgrace on my family, said Mr. Cherry, with sudden boldness.
"Do you think your mother would like to see you speaking in Hyde Park?" demanded Miss Doggett.
"My mother is dead," said Mr. Cherry, feeling that he had scored a point.

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