Nowadays, people resort to all kinds of activities in order to calm themselves after a stressful event: performing yoga poses in a sauna, leaping off bridges while tied to a bungee, killing imaginary zombies with imaginary weapons, and so forth. But in Miss Penelope Lumley's day, it was universally understood that there is nothing like a nice cup of tea to settle one's nerves in the aftermath of an adventure- a practice many would find well worth reviving.
Blaise decided that the thing he would remember most about this London was the sour stink of it. The overripe foulness of the streets made him gag, and when a woman emptied a chamber pot from a top window, nearly catching him in its spray, he bent over and wretched, much to the Nightsneaks' amusement.
In a public dialogue with Salman in London he [Edward Said] had once described the Palestinian plight as one where his people, expelled and dispossessed by Jewish victors, were in the unique historical position of being 'the victims of the victims': there was something quasi-Christian, I thought, in the apparent humility of that statement.
Unreal City, Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,I had not thought death had undone so many.Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,To where St Mary Woolnoth kept the hours With a dead sound on the final stock of nine.There I saw one I knew, and stopped him crying: 'Stetson!You, who were with me in the ships at Mylae!That corpse you planted last year in your garden,Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!You! hypocrite lecteur!-mon semblable,-mon frere!
Is Dust immortal then, I ask'd him, so that we may see it blowing through the Centuries? But as Walter gave no Answer I jested with him further to break his Melancholy humour: What is Dust, Master Pyne?And he reflected a little: It is particles of Matter, no doubt.Then we are all Dust indeed, are we not?And in a feigned Voice he murmered, For Dust thou art and shalt to Dust return. Then he made a Sour face, but only yo laugh the more.
The city which lay below was a charnel house built on multi-layered bones centuries older than those which lay beneath the cities of Hamburg or Dresden. Was this knowledge part of the mystery it held for her, a mystery felt most strongly on a bell-chimed Sunday on her solitary exploration of its hidden alleys and squares? Time had fascinated her from childhood, its apparent power to move at different speeds, the dissolution it wrought on minds and bodies, her sense that each moment, all moments past and those to come, were fused into an illusory present which with every breath became the unalterable, indestructible past. In the City of London these moments were caught and solidified in stone and brick, in churches and monuments and in bridges which spanned the grey-brown ever-flowing Thames. She would walk out in spring or summer as early as six o'clock, double-locking the front door behind her, stepping into a silence more profound and mysterious than the absence of noise. Sometimes in this solitary perambulation it seenmed that her own footsteps were muted, as if some part of her were afraid to waken the dead who had walked thse streets and had known the same silence.