30 September 2009


If I had realized how much "adulthood" sucks (for lack of a better word) I would have had a lot more fun in college.

I was such the adult in my youth, and now I feel like a child.

25 September 2009

g-20 financial summit turns to concern for nuclear weapons in Iran

The pre-scientific age, whatever its deficiencies, had at least offered its members the peace of mind that follows from knowing all man-made achievements to be nothing next to the grandeur of the universe. We, more blessed in our gadgetry but less humble in our outlook, have been left to wrestle with feelings of envy, anxiety and arrogance that follow from having no more compelling repository of veneration than our brilliant, precise, blinkered and morally troubling fellow human beings.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. Alain de Botton

23 September 2009


At the library, when boss was gone, and the workload pretty much done (for me, anyhow) I spent the time looking up pictures of Daniel Craig. Why....I think I was talking about him with a co-worker, who fancies he looks a bit like him. And, he kinda does, I have to admit. Before I know it, I have three other people peeking over my shoulder, as I sit in the bosses desk looking at pictures of Daniel Craig in the shorty-shorts he wore for Casino Royale, laughing about what you can guess but I won't relate.

Life is made of moments.

22 September 2009

"The Little Stranger"

I had one of those moments of complete happiness today that I wish I had more often. I was in the library, doing something I can't remember, checking in or shelving books, and everything suddenly seemed all right and good, and immediately after I thought -- this will change in a few minutes, and of course it did, but I tried to remember what it felt like, so that I feel it more often.

I drank tea last night while reading a new book by Sarah Waters, called The Little Stranger. It is a great book. I love her writings. Unfortunantely, not much happens in them, and by the middle I usually get bored. But this novel isn't quite so wordy and highly intelligent, but seemly simple with a subtle complexity that will probably resolve into some grand idea that, thankfully, will arrive at the end of the story. It is difficult for me to appreciate books that spend the entirety trying to promote some theory or major idea. Not much of a point to that when everything that is written has been before. A good story, with true (but unique) characters, is what I desire.

21 September 2009

bring it on, bitch.

No more gothic, Bronte-inspired, emo shit on here anymore.

I will write only good things.

Is this possible?

Got laptop back from shop where it has been this past week. Something refreshing about not having the distractions of the world wide web at your fingertips. Like starting anew.

I remember what life was like before I got a computer. Although, frankly, it wasn't much better. This is not an emo statement, just the truth.

Tomorrow. The library. I hope to run into protestors. I'm the only Pittsburgh-er, it seems, who is not afraid of these protestors, or am in fear that my life will be turned upside down by the presence of heads of state and, their counterparts, the civilians that wish to hurl (innocuous?) words at them.

I say -- bring it the fuck on!

Guess who?

12 September 2009


These are the things I need:

money to pay for my school loans which I have to start paying again.

a job, one that I won't dislike

a boyfriend who is interesting and passionate and smart and who I find attractive (no small order that).

a place of my own

enough money to travel back to london for a visit, and Kristen and Stacey to come too so we can have a reunion.'

a purpose for living

Jack Vettriano

11 September 2009

not what is so blatantly obvious

I've read through that short story and have discovered that there are large chunks of the end of it that I must have at some point taken out. And that the main male character was apparently originally called Jeremy and then (because of my sudden interest in the tennis player, Lleyton Hewitt?) it was changed. I must have written this story my freshman year of college. I wrote a lot of stories then. None of them good, but all imaginative, inspirational, free. I was so eager for life my freshman year of college, and indeed even through those four years, even after I came back from Regents College in London and found something missing in my old college, even after (at the same time) the English departments favourite professor and head of the department left for a position elsewhere. Rather cliche, really. We all grow up in college -- or are suppose to realize the reality of life. Some of us are destroyed by it, and others pick up the pieces and move on.

Illusions. I was so happy my first two years at college. So inspired. I could write silly, fantastic stories and feel no guilt for their lack of basis in reality. I haven't written stories since then. I try sometimes, and can't. Like it is wrong to indulge in fantasies. I could write a story that is factual, reality based, but that would be no fun, no escape. Plus, I have always found what is not often found in reality to be more interesting than what is.

Others can write about what does happen, I'd rather take a more surreal approach to reality. I've always loved literature for its ability to open our mind, to show us not what is so blatantly obvious, but what is difficult to see, but there, nonetheless, in some capacity.

Jack Vettriano

10 September 2009


I don't know what to write. I don't have anything to write. Hence why I haven't been writing.

So, I'll post a story, that I wrote years and years ago, and which I came across today when I was going through my files while at a cafe with Abbt. I haven't read through it because if I do then I will not post it. It is pretty silly -- I was reading Austen and Edith Wharton at the time --

‘Jane will be quite an old maid soon, I declare. She is almost three and twenty! Lord, how ashamed I should be of not being married before three and twenty!’ – Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice


1861 -- In the fashionable side of New York City lived a young girl whom everyone was talking about. Her name was Mary Collins. She was a girl of twenty who only a week ago had been received at her first ball and only the night before at an opera. She had “come out.” It was time for her to find a husband.

She was lucky that her father knew so many great business men and that her mother held an outstanding reputation, for before week’s end she had secured a match. His name was Louis Avery and he was a business partner of her father’s. Even those who did not know him personally knew that he was a prominent defense lawyer by the articles in the newspapers telling of his victories. Mary felt lucky and many of her acquaintances thought her so, except for one person, her sister.
Lucy Collins knew that she was selfish for wishing that her sister would never marry. I can not lie to my reader by telling them it was solely out of love for her sister that she feared this separation. Rather, she knew that once her older sister was attached, she too would have to go through the courtship process. She was only nineteen and thought that age too young to undergo the difficult task of choosing ones husband.

“Mr. Avery is coming to dinner this evening, Lucy,” Mary related to her sister one spring afternoon. “You have a very keen way of observing people and I would like to know what you think about him.” Both sisters were in their sitting room, a room for shared secrets and feminine gossip.

“If you wish me to but you must remember that whatever I believe about his character may be incorrect.”

The party that evening consisted of the before mentioned person, the sister’s parents and their old acquaintance, Leytton Montgomery. The latter was a man of twenty two who was studying law at a local university. He was once an eminently rich man but two years before his father had lost the family’s money on a speculation venture gone wrong. However, his connection with the Collins’s family insured him a place in the very best of families for dinners and balls. Ever so often he was even invited to the opera. Having known Lucy and Mary since they were children, he was a favorite among them.
Leytton was the last member of the party to sit at the dining table, arriving at the Collins’s house fifteen minutes after dinner had been served. He was often late; consequently, no one but Mr. Avery was surprised at his late entrance. Nothing was spoken of during dinner, propriety stating that discourse should be held in the drawing room. Once in this room, Mary and Mr. Avery occupied the sofa before the fire, Leytton spoke to his Mr. and Mrs. Collins in a corner near a book shelf, and Lucy settled herself in her favorite chair near the maroon curtained window. Such a place afforded her the privilege of viewing every person in the room.

If her sister had asked her then what she thought of Mr. Avery, she believed she would be unable to give a response. Only two words were spoken with him and they were only introductory phrases. The only assessment she could derive of his character was by his appearance. He was exactly as she thought he would look; tall, with a stern eye and furrowed brow; a man of twenty-five who looked much older. She could only attribute the latter to the hardships of his job, though it was considered superfluous for any gentleman of his wealth and social position to do more than the minimum of work. She had read that he was now defending a woman who had allegedly been beaten by her husband. The papers said it looked like the prosecution would win. She felt admiration for him who took a case that many other lawyers refused.

In order to stifle the inevitable ennui which began to pervade the room, it was decided among Mary and Mr. Avery that the party should play a game of charades. Mr. and Mrs. Collins instantly agreed. Even so, assembling each person into a group was a difficult task because both Lucy and Leytton did not wish to participate. Eventually, Leytton was persuaded to accompany Mary and Mr. Avery but not even the caressing voice and threatening eyebrow of the sisters’ mother could persuade Lucy to join. The servants were told to scourge the attic and unused rooms for props, and the amateur theatrical performance began. Lucy retrieved a book to occupy herself while her parents dressed themselves in makeshift apparel created out of tissue paper. She did not close her book and lay it in her lap until the next group took their place in the center of the room.

Lucy felt pity for Leytton who was given a fire poker for a sword and a crooked crown made out of stationary to place on his head. While the other two were devising the scene, Leytton tried in vain to keep the crown from falling from its intended resting place, giving Lucy a smile that denoted discomfort. Gifted with foresight, I will relate to my reader that the scene was from the King Arthur tales. It was set on the night of Guinevere’s execution. Lancelot (played by Mr. Avery) comes to save his love while King Arthur (Leytton, with his perpetually falling crown) looks on. It was all very dramatic, with Lancelot riding up on a candlestick and Guinevere struggling to free herself from the twine loosely wrapped around herself and a chair.

Soon after this scene closed, the game exhausted its novelty and the players retreated to corners of the room. Mary, along with Mr. Avery, came over to Lucy and asked her how she liked their performance. Only satisfactory remarks were given and both players glowed at the scanty commendations voiced. Sitting down on two chairs placed before them, Mr. Avery said to Lucy with a certain swagger,

“I feel I am a sort of modern day Lancelot. Like that man, I defend those who are unable to defend themselves. And when I defeat my opponent and read or hear the praise of my fellow men, well then I feel like I have committed a task that only God himself could have justly executed. For sure, Lancelot was a mistaken man, many did not understand his passions and views of the world, just like many do not understand me but in such times when I am placed against those who question my actions or thoughts, I remember that they do not know the cruelty and injustice on this world like I do and then I am able to prove them wrong as I do those I am placed against in court.”

Mary beamed at her perfect mate while Lucy felt disgust at his open pride. When once she had thought Mr. Avery so hard working because he wanted to help others, now she could not help to form the opinion that it was simply for the gratification of his pride.

She was very glad when they left her to join Mr. and Mrs. Collins near the fire. Leytton was no where to be found and believing that he had left without saying goodbye, as he was wont to do, Lucy again picked up her book. She read no more than a page when she heard near her seat,

“Do you never tire of Jane Austen?” Leytton had quite noiselessly sat himself on the chair beside Lucy and was now languidly reclining with his hands folded together on his chest and his two legs stretched out straight before him. Lucy placed her book face down on the table next to her but did not answer his question. Leytton continued,

“I thought you told me you despise our society for its obsession with marriage and propriety but if I’m not mistaken,” and in a bantering tone he remarked, “and I’m often not, does not Jane Austen deal heavily with those two issues?” With a raised eyebrow and a smile on her lips, she responded,

“Yes, her books do often deal with such issues and the very emphasis our society places on these issues makes them even more interesting to me. Why do people care about who other people marry? Why must marriages take place between two people of the same social class? Why are women brazen old maids if they do not marry? It seems there are worse problems on this world than good breeding and marriage and yet that is all we care about. I want to find the answers to my questions and the only places to find them are where the issues I ponder are studied.”

“That is very astute of you. You should take my place at law school. They could use someone with your intuition.”
“I hardly think that they would allow a woman to enter law school. How are you, by the way, progressing in your work?’
“I suppose I am doing well.”
“You don’t seem to care.”
“Frankly, I don’t. Oh, don’t look worried. I’ll pass.” Lucy knew he did not like to talk about his studies. It made them both angry, Lucy because she felt he should work harder and Leytton because he did not like Lucy to criticize him. She supposed that he simply did not want to become a lawyer but he would not tell her why if this was so he was studying to become one.
“What did you think about my performance?” Leytton asked as his disgruntled look changed as he chuckled at the mere thought of how Lucy would respond. “Am I cut out to play King Arthur on the great stage?”
“Perhaps if it is a comedy. I wonder if you heard me snickering behind my book after you left your crumpled crown lay where it fell after several attempts to keep it in place.”
“Thankfully, no. One rap from you and I lose all sense of proportion.”
Looking across the room at her sister and Mr. Avery, she asked, “What do you think about Mary’s suitor?”
“Rather conventional. I suppose he’ll do for your sister. She’s not like you; she doesn’t expect much. What do you think of him?”
“I think he’s a proud fool.”
“Will you tell your sister so?”
“Of course I won’t. I don’t force my opinions on anyone unless they want them to be heard. She asked me to observe him to tell her what I think about him but I know that she will only want to hear good things. I shan’t tell either what I feel or what she wants to hear. I’ll simply tell her that he’s too much of a quandary for me to figure out. Her suitor believes himself to be a contradiction as he so bluntly told me when he compared himself to his idol, Lancelot. It seems that he fancies himself an incarnation of that man, and I believe he really is. Just like that fellow was proud and unsympathetic to anyone save himself, so is Mr. Avery the same.

“I always wonder what happens after Lancelot saves Guinevere. Of course, most people imagine Lancelot and Guinevere living happily ever after. I can’t do the same. It’s too idyllic for people who hold such great foibles. I always disliked Guinevere when most girls admired, indeed emulated, her. She is unrealistic. Her passion for a man other than her husband is often commended because she is regarded as a woman who won’t let conventions tie her to a husband she does not love. But her passion is not the sort of passion I feel is commendable. I would feel more sympathy for her if she felt a passionate need to help her husband with his quest to restore peace at Camelot. Instead, her type of passion destroys her husbands endeavor.
“I always felt sorry for King Arthur. I believe I would have loved him. He fought through any obstacle that came his way, even if he knew it might cost him his life. Most of all, he was humble. Every deed he committed was for the benefit of others. I would have been proud to call myself a wife to such a man.”

“Do you fancy your sister a modern day Guinevere?”
“I cannot say. If she is and she marries this Lancelot I fear their love, if love there is, will dispel once she discovers his true character and he hers.”
A month after the dinner at the Collins house, Leytton traveled with his father to Boston to assist with the care of his father’s sister who was also a dear friend of Lucy’s mother. Though Mrs. Collins was informed of her friends present condition, she thought it unnecessary to visit her, as she always professed to be sick and yet never died. Two weeks later, Mrs. Collins received a letter from Leytton with his condolences for the death of her friend. Two weeks more and Leytton, still in Boston, sent a letter to Lucy:

Dear Lucy:

As you probably know I have stayed in Boston these two weeks to hear the reading of my Aunt’s will. I am not aware if you have heard what was left me. I told the executor of the will to withhold such information in his letter to your family because I wanted to be the source from which you would hear the news. It seems that my generous aunt has left me one of her estates, in Florence, Italy as well as a good portion of her fortune. That means, my dear friend, that I am now a rich man. I have no worries for the future. This immense change in my life has prompted me to quit law school. Also, I will be moving to Florence in three months time, if not sooner.

I will call on you and your family when I return to New York in one week.


Leytton’s letter sent Lucy into a state of agitation and she quickly went to her sister in their sitting room to tell her the news. Mary was glad for Leytton but could see that Lucy was not. Unwilling to tell her sister why she was irritated, Lucy shut herself in her room and refused to speak to anyone in the family about this new development. When Leytton arrived one week later, Lucy persuaded him to walk with her to the perfumery, where she professed she had something to buy. Leytton was well aware, as I am sure my reader is, that this was merely a design to speak with him alone.
“I must say,” Lucy began, after they had walked a block, “that your letter surprised me.”
“How so?”
“I did not expect, even after you told me of the fortune you had acquired, that you would not finish law school.”
“I am aware of your opinion on that matter and was so sure of how you would react when you heard the news of my decision that I could not tell you in person.”
“You could still go to law school even if you don’t have to earn a living.” Leytton wished to end this conversation as promptly as possible and quickly responded that he never wanted to become a lawyer, confirming the supposition that had been lying in his interlocutors mind for the last year. She asked him what prompted him to attend law school in the first place but he would not give her an answer. Abruptly she stopped walking. He did the same.
“I do not understand why you are throwing away this opportunity. You could help so many people, like Mr. Avery.”
“Lucy, I am not Mr. Avery. I’m not King Arthur either. I can’t save the world, nor do I want to.”
“But you have to do something. You are such a good, caring man. I would hate to see you do nothing with your life.”
“I thought you said that you never force your opinions on those who do not want to hear them. Well, I don’t want to hear yours.” He began walking again. Lucy stood astonished and then quickly strode up beside him, checked but not defeated.
“So what are you going to do? Sit in your home all day and go to the opera at night? Is that going to be your whole existence? There is nothing more despicable.”
“I don’t see you doing anything different with your own life.”
“That is all a woman in my position can do.” He stopped his frantic walking and looked at her with the same critical eyes that she had given him a half a block ago.
“You little hypocrite. Do you fancy that men don’t have the same troubles? If so, you are wrong. You may believe that we live the life of privilege because we are given greater freedom than your sex but truth told we suffer just like you by society. I have avoided telling you why I decided to become a lawyer but now I see that I must, even if it sets you even more against me. You know that I was not rich. Oh yes, we never spoke of it. It was easy not to when everyone acted as though I was, inviting me to their home for dinner and to their box at the opera. But that could not have lasted forever. People have already become tired of me; I have received fewer invitations to dinner these last six months than I had in one month last year. I knew that if I did not take measures to secure my place in society that I would lose my position forever. So I started law school, hoping that if I acquired a gentlemen’s occupation I would be accepted into society again. I was frightened I would become an outcast. I did not do it because I wanted to help others but merely to help myself. Now that you see me for the weak person I am, I am sure you will want nothing to do with me.”
Lucy could not look at him she was so ashamed. He had never spoken to her as he just did. Leytton quickly felt ashamed for his sudden outburst and said,
“Forgive me.”
“I should be asking you to forgive me. I am obstinate.”
“You are passionate. You are afraid that I will one day regret my decision. But now that I have told you why I quit law school, do you still think that I will regret it?”
“I always knew that you did not like it. I thought you would learn to. I do accept your decision now.” Suddenly, though, she furrowed her brow and stated vehemently, “At least you should have made me understand. You must admit that. If I would have understood, then I wouldn’t have made such a fool of myself as I did just now.”
“As I already told you, I thought you would dislike me if you found out.”
“I wish you did not feel that way. I always thought we could tell one another anything. We always did when we were children.”
“As you said before, there is a part of your character that is obstinate.”
“I never hesitate to tell you what I think about your character or decisions.”
“This is partially my fault because I let you, which perhaps isn’t so bad. I have shaped a part of my character on your observations of my faults, some of which have not been unfounded. I could be an insolent braggart like Mr. Avery but you have shown me how to rise myself above those fools who only worry about their reputations.”
“You tried to stay in their society.”
“Sometimes the pressure is so large, and we are so weak, that we do what is worst for us.” He smiled at her and gave his arm to his fair-haired friend while they walked back to the house. After a while Lucy said softly,
“You know you are far too good to me.”
Leytton responded, “I care for you too dearly to be otherwise.”
The marriage between Mr. Louis Avery and Miss Mary Collins was announced in the New York Times that week. It was to be in four months, just as the hyacinth buds in Central Park were expected to bloom.
“Mary, I will miss our conversations in this dear, quaint room,” Lucy said one morning as both sisters sat sewing in their sitting room. “I shall be quite alone now.”
“I promise I will come and sit with you in this room just as though it were old times.”
“But it won’t be like old times. Our conversations will have to change once you are a wife. You will want to talk about your new duties and your husband. All my worries and burdens will sound secondary to your own.”
“Now why would you think that? I will not think any problems you may have any less crucial than my own. Besides, you will be coming out soon and you can tell me about your suitor and I can give you advice. It is the most enjoyable and interesting part of a girl’s life and I can live through it again with you.”
“Oh, I don’t want to come out! Everything about it is awful. I would hate to think that the best time of my life should last in such a short interval. Isn’t a girl’s life enjoyable after she marries?”
“I am sure it can be but I know that everyone says that the best time is when she is choosing a suitor.” It was all very perplexing to Lucy. She thought choosing a suitor a very odious process. What if one chose wrong? She had seen many couples who did not seem very happy with one another. It would be such a shame to dislike ones company but even worse to know that you would have to keep that company until death.
“Mary, do you love Mr. Avery?”
“I do not think I do yet, but he is a very agreeable man. And I’m sure enough of love will come once we are married.” Lucy did not like her sister’s response and the critical expression she wore was one that greatly disturbed her companion. It upset Mary so much that she finally pleaded, “Lucy, don’t look at me like that. I do feel something like love stirring within me.” She too did not like to be criticized by Lucy.
The conversation dwindled and both sisters resigned to sewing silently. As one sister was imagining her future happiness and the other pondering over what her future may be, Leytton walked into the little room.
“The scene of perfection. Two little women sitting silently by the hearth sewing.” He walked over to them, hands in his pockets, and kissed each on the cheek. “How are my favorite girls this March morn’?” Soon after his entrance, Mary left the room to write a letter to her lover. As soon as she left, Lucy queried,
“Is that what every man wants in a wife, Leytton, a silent woman who sits by the hearth sewing?” Lucy asked, after several minutes of silence.
“I can’t speak for every man, for I am but one.”
“Then what of yourself?”
“Do you mean do I want a docile wife that will do whatever I say?” She nodded.
“Well, I hardly think that much fun. I’d die an early death from boredom. What of yourself? Do you want a husband who will tell you what to do?”
“You know very well that I do not.”
“We are certainly one unconventional pair then.” Lucy brought her eyes to a painting of a mother and her daughter above the hearth, avoiding eye contact with Leytton. She had started to feel very funny when around him and didn’t know if she should like it. “You can tell your sister that I will be attending her wedding as I have extended my stay until April.”
“Mary will be pleased.”
“You look sad today Lucy. Do you care to tell me why?” She now looked at him.
“I am very selfish. I do not want my sister to marry because once she does then I will be expected to find a suitor. I don’t want to go through it Leytton. I have to feel that it is not the great experience my sister tells me it is. Furthermore, my two dearest companions are leaving and I so hate solitude.”
“Mary will only be a couple of blocks away and I’m sure she will want you to call daily. As for me, if that is indeed the other companion you are speaking of, I will send many letters to you and visit every summer. Maybe even you and your parents can come to Italy. Have they ever been before?”
“They don’t travel overseas. Mother gets sick on boats and father has work.” Leytton could see that Lucy was really distressed. He had witnessed how the color in her cheeks had diminished and there was a look in her mien that spoke of weariness. Weariness from exertion in thought, Leytton surmised. It affected him to know that it was partly because he was leaving that she was pained.
“I suppose you can’t come to Italy alone?”
“Not unless I have someone to accompany me. I know mother would not let me go alone, especially at the time when I am to choose my husband. Those who knew I was going to see you alone would not approve.”
“What could they think? I am an old family friend. I have known you since you were born. We are like brother and sister.” Tears were rising in her eyes. She did not like him saying that they were like brother and sister.
“People may say otherwise.”
“Like what? What would they say, Lucy?”
“That…You know Leytton.”
“No, I do not. Tell me. Tell me what they would say… No, look at me as you say it.”
She brought her eyes to his and timidly spoke, “They would say that…that you are my…suitor.”
“Why was that hard for you to say?” She did not answer. She rose to the hearth, keeping her eyes transfixed on the painting while tears glided down her cheeks. Leytton could see her tears but knew she did not want him to acknowledge them. He rose too and standing behind her said, “So, come to Italy.” She looked down at the ashes gathered round the outside of the grate and said, “I’ve already told you why I can’t.”
“I think I am going to have to take back that remark I once made about you being astute.” He laughed and she looked up at him, her cheeks now dry, the deluge ended.
“Do you think that there could possibly be anyone else who could suit me as well as you? I know I am not a fool to feel that we are intended for one another. Oh no, maybe not in the conventional sense. Your parents I’m sure have no idea that I love you much more than a friend, that I have always felt so, and that it pains me to even think that they would give any objection to our marrying. You belong with me in Italy. We have both suffered too long in a climate that is far too cold for us.” He looked into her eyes, which were starting to well up again. He knew the battle she was going through to keep the water from overflowing. It was to no avail, for the waterfall would come and to protect her pride from a possible wound, he gathered her to him, allowing his breast as a haven for her tears. Neither spoke a word and for several minutes the only sound in the room was the chime of an antique clock resting on the mantelpiece above them and the sobs of Lucy sotto voce. Eventually Leytton whispered, “Do you not want me? Would you rather King Arthur?” She released herself from his embrace, hoping the intensity of her eyes would tell him more than the words she would express.

“And I am grateful that you love me despite all of mine.” She smiled more heartily than Leytton had seen her do in weeks and rested herself on his chest, feeling that never was there a time when she was more content. Though satisfied that he had successfully won the woman of his heart, Leytton could not help to feel anxious about how her mother and father would react to this new development.
He voiced this concern to Lucy and she decided that it would be unnecessary to make her parents aware of the understanding between them until after her sister’s marriage. Meantime, what a joyous time they had with one another! When left alone, they would talk about what their married life would be like. Both hoped their parents would consent to a marriage in Italy but it was unlikely that they would allow the two young lovers to cross the sea without one. Still, they did not lament. As long as they could spend the rest of their life in the place which they knew would both suit them, they did not care where their united life began. High hopes were present within both; they were so confident in their love and constancy, that I can assure my reader that nothing would stop them from doing as they wished. Lucy had not forgotten the conversation that she had with Leytton about his abandoning a venture in law and though she quite agreed with him, she still pondered what Leytton intended for them to do in the way of activity. Leytton was aware that his wife could not be one who sat demurely by her husband’s side and was prepared when Lucy queried him on this point.
“I am very pleased that you have brought up this topic because I was going to if you had not. A companion to my departed aunt who is from Florence sent me a letter not too long ago asking me that if I did not have a vocation and would like one, if I would help her at a school of which she is headmistress. It is a school for English children, aged three to fifteen. It seems that they have had a sudden influx of students and there are several new positions open. She is seeking those who have had a classical education. I have written her back saying that, if upon visiting her establishment I thought I could be of any use and if the conditions were suitable, that I would certainly take her offer.”
“Oh, that’s marvelous,” Lucy interjected.
“But I am not finished, my dear. I also inquired if she would care for another helper, one whose very kindness and intelligence would be the very combination to establishing trust with her students and instilling knowledge in their little brains. I have not yet received a letter from her. I expect one at the end of this week. I must confess that I had received the letter and sent my reply before you had accepted me as your husband. I was not going to ask you to marry me until I received her reply. I wanted to be certain if you accepted me you would have something to do with yourself in Italy. My design was defeated that morning I saw you sewing with your sister in your sitting room. I spent a quarter of an hour watching you outside the door. I could see you were in deep thought and it pained me to see how torturous those thoughts were. I was not certain if it was because I was leaving that you were hurting but I felt that perhaps it was.”
One mid April afternoon there was a wedding between a young woman of fashion and a man of wealth. Those invited to the wedding tried to contain their boredom by stifling their intermittent yawns during the service, for Mary Collins was correct when she stated that the most interesting part was when a girl was picking her suitor. It is not just so for those involved but also for the family and acquaintances of the couple and once that scene takes a close, it is time for the spectators to predict and gossip about another young girl’s future. In like fashion, after the “I do’s” had been stated and the cake cut, everyone turned their attention toward the brides younger sister.
Addressing her daughter the day after the wedding, Mrs. Collins said, “You know now that Mary is settled, Lucy, you will be expected to find a husband. I was wondering dear if you have anyone in mind. Leytton, is that a look of incredulity? Well believe it, Lucy is no longer the little girl we all once knew. She is grown up now, and she has duties that I’m sure she is well aware of. Darling if you don’t have anyone in mind, I can hardly think of anyone you would…” She turned towards Leytton and said, “She has never been good around men. -- Well, if you don’t have anyone in mind,” she continued to say to Lucy, “I know your father has a few he has been looking at. You will speak to him about it after.”
“Mother that won’t be necessary, for you see I have already chosen a suitor.” Leytton looked intently at Lucy and she looked at him to gather courage.
“You have already…” and she gasped. “How can this be so and why did I not know?”
“I’m sorry to take away all your fun, mother, but I have.”
Mrs. Collins could not help but to think the worst. Oh, he must be a pauper, or too old, or someone with a bad reputation. Oh my, what has Lucy got her self into? Urgently, she exclaimed, “Well, who is he?”
“He is someone you know well mother. Someone you think very highly of.”
“Don’t butter me up; out with it, girl!”
Leytton walked behind Lucy, who was sitting in a chair opposite her mother. Some may consider Mrs. Collins a silly woman but she did possess some intelligence and quickly after surmised
“Are you sure?”
“I certainly hope your daughter is sure,” Leytton retorted.
“But how can this be so? Everyone always said that Leytton was like a brother to you.”
“Everyone is wrong. Mother we are quite decided on this so would you kindly tell us if you object.”
“I just don’t know. I can’t say. I have to speak to your father. You know I can’t make any decision without your father.” Mr. Collins was called in and told the news by his emphatic wife. Few words were ever spoken between him and Leytton but the latter knew that Mr. Collins was not an ill-natured man and was rather confident that no obstacle would be placed in his way.
“So what do you think Mr. Collins. Should such a marriage take place?”
“With the money his aunt bequeathed to him, along with what Lucy has of her own, they could manage to live prosperously together,” Mr. Collins ruminated to himself.
“And, you must not forget sir, that I was also given my aunt’s estate in Florence.”
“Yes, I can not forget that. When your aunt first took residence in that home, when I was a newly married man of twenty-five and she had married her weakling husband at the age of nineteen, she told us that if her husband died before her that she would leave that estate to my eldest boy. Well, I never had any boys and so to compensate it was left to you. I don’t know if you are a kind hearted man, sir, but she seemed to think that you were. When she visited us here last she told me of her plan to leave her estate to you because she knew the situation you were in and took pity upon you. I thought she was a fool, that she should have left it to her own son but apparently he has taken to drinking. She also told me, the clever woman that she was, that she thought you intended to marry my daughter. She could see it in the way you looked at her. I told her she was wrong, but then I began to watch you, and I soon saw that she was right.
Considering your new situation as a wealthy man of property, you should be able to sufficiently support my daughter, that is if you don’t squander your money as most young lads do now a days. And so I consent. I suppose you two will move to Italy?” The young couple nodded and both were so happy that one tightly hugged her jubilant mother while the other with great force shook the hand of his future father in law.

Two months later, after the marriage between Lucy and Leytton, another young girl was needed to fill the appetite of the insentient wives and old maids of New York. If only that young girl, whomever she may be, will be as lucky as our dear Lucy!
Leytton had received a prompt response from the schoolmistress and within three months both were working as teachers in an English/Italian secondary school on the banks of the Arno River. Lucy began her post teaching poetry, modern literature and, of course, Dante who, despite his origins, was not even widely read among the locals. In fact, most of the local children were illiterate. (It would later be discovered that 78% of the population at this time could not read or write). Miss ----- school was quite different. It was a boarding school whose students ranged from all over the country of England and whose students were from both the middle and the upper classes. The school’s main attraction was its locale. In the heart of Florence, it allowed students the opportunity to ingratiate themselves in a culture whose arts and literature was superior.
. Another advantage of the school was that it provided mandatory Latin language classes, which was a must for any student who wished to enter law school. Leytton began his post teaching first an introduction Latin course and then later several advanced courses. Lucy and Leytton took classes of their own learning the native tongue and Lucy became so fluent in the language that by their second year at the school she also took the role of teaching an introductory Italian class. Lucy was very proud of her husband, who took to teaching remarkably well and who loved his profession more than she could have hoped. Both loved the little society they participated in at the school. They soon found those they met outside their world environment enjoyable company as well and the Montgomery’s soon became known for their lively dinner parties.

As in all true stories, not all would occur perfectly for the pair. Lucy was unable to have children which proved to be one of the greatest tests of their commitment. They (coped) by believing that fate intended their students to be the children they would never have. With such a love as theirs, they were able to surpass difficulties and end their road in life satisfied and grateful. With a world full of unequal matches, the narrator can only hope that there are others like Lucy and Leytton.

After Notes

1. Guinevere, Lancelot, and King Arthur. Guinevere and Lancelot are meant to reflect the characters of Mary and Mr. Avery. Lucy idolizes King Arthur – he is her romantic ideal. Jeremy’s portrayal of King Author in the charade does not live up to Lucy’s image of King Arthur. Lucy eventually realizes that King Author is not real, but only an ideal and that Jeremy, despite his faults, is right for her.

2. Juxtapositions – New York and Florence. New York society is superficial and its values and mores stifle the natural inclinations of its inhabits. Florence is a city which cultivates the creative soul and breeds artists. Florence is tenacious of its free will; Lucy and Leytton arrive in Florence a few months after Italy becomes a unified nation. The juxtaposition of New York and Florence mirrors the juxtaposition of the arranged marriage between Mary and Mr. Avery and the natural courtship between Lucy and Leytton.

3. Charade – the charade reflects the society of New York. While New York society takes seriously their propriety and customs (ie: the courtship process), they are really nothing but a superficial game which has no basis in nature. Yet, we see in the character of Jeremy how easy it is for one to become influenced by this society. Just like Jeremy allows himself to become a player in the charade (after only a short resistance), so does he join law school in the hope of rejoining the society that had banished him once he lost his wealth. Lucy, on the other hand, is able to resist joining the charade; everyone else is willingly (and blindly) involved. It is also curious to note how quickly the players become bored during the charade, as the guests do at the wedding, the latter which is, one could argue, another version of a charade.

07 September 2009

art, defined

We might define art as anything which pushes our thoughts in important yet neglected directions.

Jack Vettriano
quote: Alain De Botton, "The Pleasures and Sorrows of work": 184

05 September 2009


I filled out a career counseling form with my previous university so that they can help me find a job. Fun stuff.

Otherwise, spent the day in my house. Not fun stuff.

03 September 2009


I've been lethargic these last three days. Stopped drinking diet pepsi. Maybe it is the lack of caffeine. And my rampant allergies.

One of my former professors came into the library today, and I spoke to her briefly. She told me I should go to the various universities around here to look for a job. Look on one of the colleges Web sites, and in order to you have to create an account and post your resume and blah blah.

I'm so fucked. And not in the good way. Can't someone find a job for me?

What happened to me? I used to be so gun-hoe (how do you spell that?). I'm so weary of this world. And the people in it. There is no magic, just bleak reality. No one wants bleak reality, admit it.

I've been watching sci fi shit -- Buffy and True Blood. Always some heroine character who gets herself into trouble. Trouble that we could never get into in real life. And it is always fantastic and thrilling. Reason why we love such shows and literature is because it gives us what we crave but do not have in our real life. Adventure. Not much adventure in a 9-5 job, coming home to the husband and a smelly kid. Not much adventure in taking the same bus route every day; not getting enough sleep, having to get up at 7:00 in the morning for work. Who wants that?

I need to find something good. But where is it?

Jack Vettriano

02 September 2009

books as a metaphor for life

I look at the books I owe, scattered as they are all around my room -- crammed into book shelves, on top of my desk, in what was once an encyclopedia shelf that now doubles as my 19th century book collection/night stand. I am proud of these books. I think if I were walking into someone's room that had these books I would immediately envy them. Sometimes I glance at one of my books, while watching telly or something, and forgetting that I had that book, become a bit excited. But then I wonder why I've forgotten this book. Why don't I recognize these things that are in my life that are so precious? I walk past them every day. I am the sort of person, I'm starting to learn, that wants something when she doesn't have it, and when she does, very soon afterward forgets it, so commonplace does it become. Maybe this is why I scarce away from relationship. I know that, like with my book collection, I'll become bored with it. Of course with guys I'm usually bored before anything begins.

Jack Vettriano

01 September 2009

the edge of brilliance

Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or a bicycle.

Jack Vettriano
quote: Alain De Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, 127