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My Best Friend's Girlfriend Part 2 [FF]
I immediately step back and turn my face to the side, breaking eye contact. “Reyna?” I ask, pretending to be surprised. “What are you doing?” “We were worried about you, little Sarah.” She’s playing a long. We both know I heard the whole thing. “You were gone for so long.” “Nice of you to check in on me,” I snap. “And don’t call me little.” I can be polite for Maria, but fuck this bitch, I don’t need to be polite to her face. “Did you like the little slut’s performance?” Pretending didn’t last long. “What?” I say, mostly as filler. I don’t know how I would begin to respond. “She was a little too eager for my taste,” continues Reyna, ignoring me. “It takes all the fun out of it.” “That was a game to you?” “More of a hunt, but she wasn’t the target. She was the bait.” Goosebumps crawl all over my arms and down my back. I miss my hoodie. “W-what was the target?” “You, little Sarah. The show was all for you.” She licks her lips and I step back, trying to get away from her, but I’m trapped in this stall unless I bull her over. I’m not afraid to tackle a bitch. I can’t let her bully me. She just mind-fucked or hypnotized or something poor June after leaving the table where my best friend and her girlfriend is sitting. “I bet you enjoyed it,” I say with some backbone, even if it’s faked. “You know who else would love to know about that? Maria.” “Yes, I imagine she would,” says Reyna. “You don’t know her at all. She’d kill you if she found out you were cheating.” Maria has severe trust issues after several boyfriends in high school cheated on her. There’s no way she’d put up with Reyna’s shenanigans. “What would you tell her? That I watched June play with herself and called her a slut? Is that cheating now? Besides, I think it is you who do not know her now. She has changed.” “Thanks to you?” “I helped, yes. But, no. She has found her true self. She is a slut, just like little June.” “Are you some type of predator? You hunt down women and debase them?” Kinks and fetishes are one thing, but no one calls my best friend a slut. Maria is devoted and loyal. She dresses flirty but doesn’t do anything interesting in the bedroom outside of missionary position. She likes the idea of being slutty more than actually being slutty. “I help women liberate themselves.” “Sure, you do. You dominate them. Subjugate them.” “Teach them their true identities.” “And what, they’re all sluts?” “Most.” “What is wrong with you?” “Don’t you want to know what you are?” She asks, ignoring my question. “No,” I say in almost a whisper. I don’t need her to tell me. I know already. I’m the girl everyone overlooks. I’m the background. Even Carl, my boyfriend, took years to finally notice me. We were close friends until he finally figured out I had tits he could look at and we become more than friends until we become boyfriend and girlfriend. Even now, our sex is tame when we have it, and we don’t have it often. It’s not his fault. I’m not always in the mood. I guess I’m one of those girls with a low libido. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m not a June. I’m not a slut. Besides, that’s none of her business. “One day you will ask me the question and you will already know the answer. That will be the sweetest of days,” says Reyna, looking above me as if she really can see the future and isn’t spouting some nonsense. “This is some fucked up power thing for you, isn’t it? You think you’re so irresistible.” “Some women are designed to be worshipped. Some women do the worshipping. I know which one I am, but which one are you?” “You know, June gave me her number too. You aren’t some sex goddess to her. She was horny and looking for anything. She would have banged anything that moved this morning. She must have been desperate if she was hitting on me” “You think too lowly of yourself, little Sarah.” Reyna takes a step towards me. I try to step back, but I have nowhere to go in the stall except into the toilet. “Don’t call me little.” “She was in heat, that much is clear. But she was attracted to beauty. Do not underestimate your beauty.” She reaches for the straps of my tank top, but I smack her hand away. “So much fire in you.” She leans closer to me, almost as if to kiss me, “I like that.” I shiver, from what, I don’t know. She leans back and steps away from me, proud of herself. “Fuck you,” I say without any strength. “I’m certain one day you will, little Sarah. But that day is not today.” “You think I’d fuck my best friend’s girlfriend?” I pause. I’ve skipped something obvious. “You think I’d fuck a woman at all?” “You are too worried about Maria. She was the same, you know. About Jace.” All the anger is gone from me. All that remains now is cold fear. I don’t know who this woman is. I don’t know what she did to June or what she’s doing to me. But I have to stop her. For Maria, if not for myself. “What did you do to her?” I ask. “Nothing she didn’t beg me for. You’ll see. All my takeovers are peaceful. Just like little June. They beg, and they ache. Everyone is so hungry for me. But you Americans are so shameful. So guilty and hurting. I make sure to help clear away the cobwebs before I accept their service. Maria needed healing. I healed her.” “By controlling her?” The heat is returning to my cheeks. Good. “Dominating her? Telling her what to do and flirting with other women in her presence? Hitting on her best friend? Demeaning her? Is that how you heal her?” “Precisely.” “What?” “She came to me, little Sarah. She came to me. I run a little shop offering advice and counsel to women who are sexually unfulfilled. She was worried about Jace. About the wedding night. Apparently, Jace was - how do you say? - boring in the bedroom. Thrust. Grunt. Two minutes. Sleep. You have no idea how often I hear this. She wanted to make the night special, but all Jace wanted was fancy lingerie. Men are too simple. She was afraid it was her fault. She wasn’t the sexy one. But I told her the roots of her sexual energy ran deep, and I could help her dig into them. I could show her the true potential bubbling beneath her.” “You lied? You trapped her. You never told her you were going to make her a lesbian or serve you. She wanted her relationship fixed, and you ruined her.” “No, darling. She wanted herself fixed, and I did that. Why do you think her sex life was so empty? Not because of Jace, but because of Maria. She wanted to serve someone. Jace was boring and weak. Now she serves me. She wanted sexual pleasure; I pleasure her in ways she thought only possible in pornography. I simply woke her up. Once she was free, she chose me over Jace. That is all. I forced nothing on her but for her to face the truth in herself.” “She was a lesbian in denial?” I ask suspiciously. “The term is useless. She pleasures me. I am a woman. I pleasure her. She is a lesbian. She is bisexual. It matters not. You Americans are so lost in your terms. Call her what you will, she is mine.” I step closer to Reyna. I’m done being scared of this bitch. Psychopath. Sex Goddess. Hypnotist. Spanish bombshell. I don’t give a fuck. I’m going to talk to Jace and we’re going to get Maria back. “She doesn’t belong to you.” My words are deliberate, slow. “She belongs to herself. She belongs to those she loves, which is me and Jace. You don’t own her.” Reyna smirks, amused. “Perhaps not yet, but soon she will be mine completely. There are so many cobwebs to clear out first. But once I am done cleaning, I can start redecorating.” “I’m going to stop you.” She cups my cheek in her hand and looks down at me condescendingly. “I look forward to your trying.” I shake her hand off my face and press on her sternum with my forefinger, hard. “Get out my way.” “One last thing, little one.” She bends her knees and reaches for the buckle for my jeans. I gasp in surprise and step backwards, but she follows. I try to take her hands off of me, but God, she’s strong. Her face turns from a smile to a snarl as I’ve backed up against the toilet of the stall, nowhere else to turn. My jeans are unbuckled. I try to scream, but one of her hands slams down on my mouth and over my nose. She squeezes. My hands scratch at her hand, her arm, but she doesn’t move. She leans in against me, at her full height looming inches over me. The snarl recedes. “Shhh, darling. Don’t scream. I’m not going to hurt you.” She lowers herself until all I can see are her bright amber eyes. Her beautiful eyes. “I would never hurt you, okay?” I don’t move. “Nod if you understand that Reyna would never hurt you.” Of course, that’s bullshit. She’s got me pinned in bathroom stall. I think I’m a few minutes away from being raped by this woman. I close my eyes shut, but she squeezes my face until they open wide from the pain. I can’t breathe, and the corners of my vision are starting to go blurry. I’m having trouble focusing. There is the stall behind Reyna. The mirror behind Reyna. And then there is Reyna. Reyna and her eyes. Burning amber. Shining. Everything is going dark except for her eyes. Her eyes are sharp and bright. Everything else is soft in comparison. Everything is dim. Like a cold night back in Massachusetts. A winter night. I love winter. You curl up on the couch when it gets dark so early. Grab a book. Sit by the fire. Everything is dark, but you can see from the crackling fire. The fire glows amber. The whole room is amber. The book is amber. The world is amber. Sarah is amber. And amber is safe. Of course, I’m safe. I nod with understanding. The hand slips from my mouth and nose. I don’t gasp in air because I’m safe. I don’t scream because I’m safe. I don’t close my eyes because I love this book. It’s my favorite. “Good girl,” says the fire or the book or the winter. “Now look at me, look at Reyna and truly see her.” Reyna steps away from me and the world goes cold. Her eyes are stars now, no longer my sun. With the cold comes my anger. What did the bitch do to me? “You’re strong, Sarah. I admire that.” I wipe my eyes and run my hands over my face. I’m drooling. How long was I staring into her eyes? “What did you do to me?” I ask. “Just proving a point.” She holds something up. Some white fabric that looks familiar. With both hands, she holds it in front of me and spreads it out. They’re my panties. Holy shit. “Look how wet they are, darling.” I immediately reach down. My jeans are on, but my panties are gone. My crotch is warm, sticky, and a little wet. “What did you do to me?” I ask again, letting the rage and shock fill my voice. When did that happen? Was I zoned out? How long was I zoned out? Shit. “The real question is whether I asked for them or you offered them. The difference between those is everything.” She purrs the last word, filling the stall with her thick breath. “What are you?” I ask, wondering for the first time that she may not be fully human. Those eyes. That fire. I can still smell the amber fire and feel it warming my crotch again. “Time will tell, Sarah. For now, let me promise you this. You can attempt to take Maria from me if that pleases you. But one day you will come to me, alone, of your own free will. And you will beg me to take you. You will beg me to bend you to my will and control you like I control Maria, maybe more so. On that day, you will get these panties back.” Reyna turns abruptly, her heels clicking, and clacks out of the bathroom. The door shuts behind her, and silence fills the bathroom. With her gone, I can see my reflection in the mirror. My hair is ruffled. Slight drool still comes from the corner of my mouth, and a small puddle of it has gathered on the top of my tank top. My jeans are unbuttoned, and my bush is showing. And I’m smiling. The door creaks open. I rush for the stall door and slam it shut. I run my hands through my hair and button my jeans. I wipe away the drool. I step out of the stall and try to make it look like the drool is water that spilled on me. For a while I stare at myself in the mirror. What just happened to me? Did she mess with my mind like June? How long was I standing there, drooling in front of her? Long enough to take off my panties and get my jeans back on, at least. Where did that time go? I can see myself clearly now, standing in front of her repeating after her just like June. Calling myself a slut. Begging her to control me. Is that what happened or what I wished had happened? No. Fuck that. She said one day I would ask her to do that to me. Which means I didn’t do that. She’s playing some game with me, but I’m not going to play by her rules. I’m going to go out there and expose her as the psychopath she is. Maria may not understand, but I’ll figure out how to break the spell. When I look at myself, I don’t see a strong woman. I don’t see someone like Reyna who towers over other women. But I do see someone who is loyal. Someone who has so few people in the world that she will desperately defend the ones she does have. Reyna may think I’m some slut like June, but I’m not. I can beat her. My blue eyes suddenly turn to a bright amber and a surge of heat runs over my chest and straight down to my pussy. I shiver in delight and then in terror. I shake my head and look back up at the mirror. Blue eyes. This bitch needs to go down. Now. I storm out of the bathroom and see the booth and the back of Maria’s head. But I don’t see Reyna. I look around the diner. Maybe she’s with June. But June is serving an elderly couple on the other side of the restaurant. Where the fuck did she go? I head back to the booth and sit across from Maria. “Oh, there you are. I was worried about you. Are you feeling alright?” asks Maria. “Yes. I mean, no. I’m not feeling well. But listen. We need to talk. Where’s Reyna?” Instead of answering, Maria starts giggling. “What’s so funny?” I don’t have time for this. “She said you would ask for her as soon as you left the bathroom.” “She did?” “Yeah. Don’t worry. I’m not upset.” “Why would you be upset?” “It happens all the time. People are attracted to Reyna. Not sexually. Psychologically. She draws them to her. I’m not surprised you find her so fascinating. Lord knows that’s what happened to me.” “What? No. I’m not attracted to her. In, uh, anyway.” I run my hands through my thick blond hair. Looking over the diner, she’s still not here. June makes eye contact with me and smiles. I smile back nervously, and the sexy waitress heads to our table. Waitress. Normal waitress. Fuck. “Listen, Maria. It’s not that. There’s something you need to know about her.” “About who?” asks June to the both of us. “She thinks I don’t know that you touched yourself for Reyna,” says Maria casually. June blushes, pushes another strand of hair out of her eyes, but keeps the hand in place to cover her face as she storms off into the kitchen. “I know, Sarah. It’s okay. Stop being such a prude.” “You know?!” My rage gets the better of my volume control. Heads turn in the diner, and Maria grabs my wrist and drags me into the booth with her. “Keep your voice down! Goddess, you have no self-control.” Goddess? “Listen, of course, I know. Reyna doesn’t keep anything from me. We tell each other everything.” “What exactly did she tell you?” There’s no way Reyna went over all the details. She didn’t have time. “She told me that she went into the bathroom looking for you. She found June masturbating. June asked her to watch, so she did. And then – “ “And that doesn’t bother you?!” I interrupt. “No. Why should it? Reyna’s a grown woman, and so is June. It’s not like they fucked. Anyway, June finished and then Reyna said that you heard the whole thing and confronted her. You were afraid it would hurt my feelings, and you told Reyna that you would be watching her. That’s it. Then she had to go.” I’m surprised by Reyna’s honesty. Sure, she left out a few key parts, like taking my panties, but that’s the meat and potatoes of it. “Honestly, I’m flattered that you’re looking out for me, but I’ll be fine. Reyna’s not going to break my heart.” “She’s dangerous, Maria. That’s not everything that happened. There’s something off about her, something she can do.” “I know,” says Maria with a dreamy smile, her mind going somewhere else. “She has such a presence. She draws in everyone’s attention.” “Doesn’t that bother you? Don’t you get jealous?” “No. I’m the one in her bed at night. That’s all that matters.” “Every night?” “That’s none of your business.” “It’s not? I thought we were best friends.” I don’t mean all the indignation in my tone, but this hits the heart of the issue. Reyna and her beautiful eyes are all secondary to getting my best friend back. “Were?” “Are. Best friends. You and me. We’ve known each other forever. Then all of the sudden you get a girlfriend, dump Jace, and block me out.” “But this is why I haven’t talked to you about any of this. I knew you wouldn’t understand. God, you can be so judgmental.” I stare at her. A dozen sentences come to mind: angry, hurt, sad, but I don’t say anything. This girl held my hand and my head when I told her Carl cheated on me. She didn’t say anything when I stayed with him. She’s held my hair while I puked sour wine all over her bathroom. She’s picked me up in a rainstorm, given me a place to crash in a hurricane, and stayed up late into the night listening to all my fan theories about the latest season of the Bachelor. And this is how I treat her? She comes out to me, and I question her? She introduces me to her girlfriend, and I interrogate her? I can’t tell who the bigger bitch is: me or Reyna. “I’m sorry. You’re right,” I say, chewing my lip. “I’m being heinous. I’m sorry.” “It’s okay,” says Maria, but I’m not convinced. “No. It’s not. In all this craziness, I never once stopped to ask how you must be feeling. You left your fiancée who you’ve dated for three years. You’re dating a woman. You’re questioning or changing or accepting your sexuality. And here I am, being a total heinous bitch. I’m really sorry, Maria.” She pauses, staring into my eyes. For a second, her eyes flash amber. “It has been kind of crazy.” She smiles. “I’ve missed you, you know.” “I’ve missed you too.” And like that, we’re back to normal. She stays with me in the restaurant for another hour. I finally order some sausage and eggs. I offer to buy something for her, but she passes. We fall into an easy rhythm. We don’t go into any of the heavy topics: she never talks to me about Jace or her new-found lesbianism. We talk about the Bachelor and work. We talk about her hair and what color she is thinking about next (neon orange). We talk about how I really need a new wardrobe. At some point, she gets a text. Her face gets serious and all the warmth drops out of the booth. “I have to go,” she says. “Yeah. I should probably get back to Carl.” “Next time, we talk about the Carl situation.” “That sounds like a great band name.” “The Carl Situation?” “Yeah.” “Maybe something punk-rock? Ska?” “Yeah, something white angsty teenagers would listen to.” “Absolutely,” she laughs. “But seriously, call tomorrow and we’ll find a time to meet. We definitely need to talk about it.” “Fine,” I sigh. She’s been trying to get me to break up with Carl for months. “Alright, I’ll see you later,” she says and gets up from the table. I see her walk back into the kitchen of the diner. Someone asks what she’s doing back there, but the door opens quickly, and she heads out of the restaurant. A minute later, June walks out of the restaurant after her. What. The. Fuck? Talking to Maria lulled me into a sense of normalcy, but nothing is normal about this. I can’t forget. I can’t get lazy. This is seriously fucked up. I take out my phone and pull up Jace’s number and text him. “We need to talk ASAP.” “When?” he responds. “Tomorrow?” I ask. “Yes. Coffee? City and State?” “Sure. 3?” “Done. See you then.” I put away my phone and leave some cash for the waitress I no longer have. Is she off to sleep with Maria and Reyna? Are they about to have some kinky lesbian threesome? Or is she going to replace Maria as Reyna’s new pet? What the hell does Reyna want with them? I’m going to find out. I’m going to stop her. I’m going to get my best friend back, and then I’ll get on my knees and eat my new goddess out. Shit. If you want more, you can find me on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/trixieadara or on Twitter @AdaraTrixie
By Charles Dickens XIV. Chambers. HAVING occasion to transact some business with a so- licitor who occupies a highly suicidal set of chambers in Gray's Inn, I afterward took a turn in the large square of that stronghold of Melancholy, reviewing, with congenial surroundings, my experience of Cham- bers. I began, as was natural, with the Chambers I had just left. They were an upper set on a rotten staircase, with a mysterious bunk or bulkhead on the landing outside them, of a rather nautical and Screw Collier-like appear- ance than otherwise, and painted an intense black. Many dusty years have passed since the appropriation of this Davy Jones locker to any purpose; and during the whole period within the memory of living man, it has been hasped and padlocked. I cannot quite satisfy my mind whether it was originally meant for the reception of coals or bodies, or as a place of temporary security for the plunder "looted" by laundresses; but I incline to the last opinion. It is about breast high, and usually serves as a bulk for defendants in reduced circumstances to lean against and ponder at, when they come on the hopeful errand of trying to make an arrangement with- out money,——under which auspicious circumstances it mostly happens that the legal gentleman they want to see is much engaged, and they pervade the staircase for a considerable period. Against this opposing bulk, in the absurdest manner, the tomb-like outer door of the so- licitor's chambers (which is also of an intense black) stands in dark ambush, half open and half shut, all day. The solicitor's apartments are three in number; consisting of a slice, a cell, and a wedge. The slice is assigned to the two clerks, the cell is occupied by the principal, and the wedge is devoted to stray papers, old game baskets from the country, a washing-stand, and a model of a patent Ship's Caboose which was exhibited in Chancery at the commencement of the present century on an application for an injunction to restrain infringement. At about half past nine on every week-day morning, the younger of the two clerks (who, I have reason to believe, leads the fashion at Pentonville in the articles of pipes and shirts) may be found knocking the dust out of his official door-key on the bunk or locker before mentioned; and so exceedingly subject to dust is his key, and so very retentive of that superfluity, that in exceptional summer weather, when a ray of sunlight has fallen on the locker in my presence, I have noticed its inexpressive counte- nance to be deeply marked by a kind of Bramah erysip- elas or small-pox. This set of chambers (as I have gradually discovered, when I have had restless occasion to make inquiries or leave messages after office hours) is under the charge of a lady named Sweeney, in a figure extremely like an old family umbrella, whose dwelling confronts a dead wall in a court off Gray's Inn Lane, and who is usually fetched into the passage of that bower, when wanted, from some neighbouring home of industry, which has the curious property of imparting an inflammatory appearance to her visage. Mrs. Sweeney is one of the race of pro- fessed laundresses, and is a compiler of a remarkable manuscript volume entitled "Mrs. Sweeney's Book," from which much curious statistical information may be gathered respecting the high prices and small uses of soda, soap, sand, firewood, and other such articles. I have created a legend in my mind,——and consequently I believe it with the utmost pertinacity,——that the late Mr. Sweeney was a ticket-porter under the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, and that, in consideration of his long and valuable service, Mrs. Sweeney was appointed to her present post. For, though devoid of personal charms, I have observed this lady to exercise a fascination over the elderly ticket-porter mind (particularly under the gateway, and in corners and entries), which I can only refer to her being one of the fraternity, yet not competing with it. All that need be said concerning this set of chambers is said, when I have added that it is in a large double house in Gray's Inn Square, very much out of repair, and that the outer portal is ornamented in a hide- ous manner with certain stone remains, which have the appearance of the dismembered bust, torso, and limbs of a petrified bencher. Indeed, I look upon Gray's Inn generally as one of the most depressing institutions in brick and mortar known to the children of men. Can anything be more dreary than its arid Square, Sahara Desert of the Law, with the ugly old tiled-topped tenements, the dirty windows, the bills To Let, To Let, the door-posts inscribed like grave- stones, the crazy gateway giving upon the filthy Lane, the scowling iron-barred, prison-like passage into Veru- lam Buildings, the mouldy, red-nosed ticket-porters with little coffin-plates, and why with aprons, the dry, hard, atomy-like appearance of the whole dust heap? When my uncommercial travels tend to this dismal spot, my com- fort is its rickety state. Imagination gloats over the ful- ness of time when the staircases shall have quite tum- bled down,——they are daily wearing into an ill-savoured powder, but have not quite tumbled down yet; when the last old prolix bencher, all of the olden time, shall have been got out of an upper window by means of a Fire Ladder, and carried off to the Holborn Union; when the last clerk shall have engrossed the last parch- ment behind the last splash on the last of the mud- stained windows, which, all through the miry year, are pilloried out of recognition in Gray's Inn Lane. Then shall a squalid little trench, with rank grass and a pump in it, lying between the coffee-house and South Square, be wholly given up to cats and rats, and not, as now, have its empire divided between those animals and a few briefless biped,——surely called to the Bar by voices of deceiving spirits,——seeing that they are wanted there by no mortal,——who glance down, with their eyes better glazed than their casements, from their dreary and lack-lustre rooms. Then shall the way Nor'westward, now lying under a short, grim colonnade where in summer-time pounce flies from law-stationering windows into the eyes of laymen, be choked with rubbish, and happily become impassable. Then shall the garden where turf, trees, and gravel wear a legal livery of black run rank, and pilgrims go to Gorhambury to see Bacon's effigy as he sat, and not come here (which, in truth, they seldom do) to see where he walked. Then, in a word, shall the old-established vendor of periodicals sit alone in his little crib of a shop behind the Holborn Gate, like that lum- bering Marius among the ruins of Carthage, who has sat heavy on a thousand million of similes. At one period of my uncommercial career, I much fre- quented another set of chambers in Gray's Inn Square. They were what is familiarly called "a top set," and all the eatables and drinkables introduced into them ac- quired a flavour of Cockloft. I have known an un- opened Strasburg pâté fresh from Fortnum and Mason's, to draw in this cockloft tone, through its crockery dish, and become penetrated with cockloft to the core of its inmost truffle in three quarters of an hour. This, how- ever was not the most curious feature of those cham- bers; that consisted in the profound conviction enter- tained by my esteemed friend Parkle (their tenant) that they were clean. Whether it was an inborn hallucina- tion, or whether it was imparted to him by Mrs. Miggot, the laundress, I never could ascertain. But I believe he would have gone to the stake upon the question. Now they were so dirty that I could take off the distinctest impression of my figure on any article of furniture by merely lounging upon it for a few moments; and it used to be a private amusement of mine to print myself off—— if I may use the expression——all over the rooms. It was the first large circulation I had. At other times I have accidentally shaken a window-curtain while in animated conversation with Parkle, and struggling insects which were certainly red, and were certainly not lady birds, have dropped on the back of my hand. Yet Parkle lived in that top set years, bound body and soul to the supersti- tion that they were clean. He used to say, when con- gratulated upon them, "Well, they are not like cham- bers in one respect, you know; they are clean." Con- currently, he had an idea which he could never explain, that Mrs. Miggot was in some way connected with the Church. When he was in particularly good spirits, he used to believe that a deceased uncle of hers had been a Dean; when he was poorly and low, he believed that her brother had been a Curate. I and Mrs Miggot (she was a genteel woman) were on confidential terms, but I never knew her to commit herself to any distinct assertion on the subject; she merely claimed a proprietorship in the Church, by looking, when it was mentioned, as if the reference awakened the slumbering Past, and were per- sonal. It may have been his amiable confidence in Mrs. Miggot's better days that inspired my friend with his delusion respecting the chambers; but he never wa- vered in his fidelity to it for a moment, though he wal- lowed in dirt seven years. Two of the windows of these chambers looked down into the garden; and we have sat up there together, many a summer evening, saying how pleasant it was, and talking of many things. To my intimacy with that top set I am indebted for three of my liveliest personal impressions of the loneliness of life in chambers. They shall follow here, in order; first, second, and third. First. My Gray's Inn friend, on a time, hurt one of his legs, and it became seriously inflamed. Not know- ing of his indisposition, I was on my way to visit him as usual, one summer evening, when I was much surprised by meeting a lively leech in Field Court, Gray's Inn, seemingly on his way to the West End of London. As the leech was alone, and was of course unable to explain his position, even if he had been inclined to do so (which he had not the appearance of being), I passed him, and went on. Turning the corner of Gray's Inn Square, I was beyond expression amazed by meeting another leech, ——also entirely alone, and also proceeding in a westerly direction, though with less decision of purpose. Rumi- nating on this extraordinary circumstance, and endeav- ouring to remember whether I had ever read, in the Phil- osophical Transactions, or any work on Natural History, of a migration of Leeches, I ascended to the top set, past the dreary series of closed outer doors of offices, and an empty set or two, which intervened between that lofty region and the surface. Entering my friend's rooms, I found him stretched upon his back, like Prometheus Bound, with a perfectly demented ticket-porter in at- tendance on him instead of the Vulture; which helpless individual, who was feeble and frightened, had (my friend explained to me, in great choler) been endeavour- ing for some hours to apply leeches to his leg, and as yet had only got on two out of twenty. To this unfortu- nate's distraction between damp cloth, on which he had placed the leeches to freshen them, and the wrath- ful adjurations of my friend to "Stick 'em on, sir!" I referred the phenomenon I encountered; the rather as two fine specimens were at that moment going out at the door, while a general insurrection of the west was in progress on the table. After a while our united efforts prevailed; and, when the leeches came off, and had re- covered their spirits, we carefully tied them up in a de- canter. But I never heard more of them than that they were all gone next morning, and that the Out-of-door young man of Bickle Bush and Bodger, on the ground- floor, had been bitten and blooded by some creature not identified. They never "took" on Mrs. Miggot, the laundress; but I have always preserved fresh the belief that she unconsciously carried several about her, until they gradually found openings in life. Second. On the same staircase with my friend Parkle, and on the same floor, there lived a man of law who pur- sued his business elsewhere, and used those chambers as his place of residence. For three or four years Parkle rather knew of him than knew him; but after that——for Englishmen ——short pause of consideration, they began to speak. Parkle exchanged words with him in his pri- vate character only, and knew nothing of his business ways or means. He was a man a good deal about town, but always alone. We used to remark to one another, that, although we often encountered him in theatres, concert-rooms, and similar public places, he was always alone. Yet he was not a gloomy man, and was of a de- cidedly conversational turn; inasmuch that he would sometimes of an evening lounge, with a cigar in his mouth, half in and half out of Parkle's rooms, and dis- cuss the topics of the day by the hour. He used to hint on these occasions that he had four faults to find with life: firstly, that it obliged a man to be always winding up his watch; secondly, that London was too small; thirdly, that it therefore wanted variety; fourthly, that there was too much dust in it. There was so much dust in his own faded chambers, certainly, that they reminded me of a sepulchre, furnished in prophetic anticipation of the present time, which had newly been brought to light, after having remained buried a few thousand years. One dry, hot, autumn evening, at twilight, this man, being then five years turned to fifty, looked in upon Parkle in his usual lounging way, with his cigar in his mouth as usual, and said, "I am going out of town." As he never went out of town, Parkle said, "O, indeed! At last?" "Yes," says he, "at last. For what is a man to do? London is so small! If you go West, you come to Hounslow. If you go East, you come to Bow. If you go South, there's Brixton or Norwood. If you go North, you can't get rid of Barnet. Then the monotony of all the streets, streets, streets,——and of all the roads, roads, roads,——and the dust, dust, dust!" When he had said this, he wished Parkle a good evening, but came back again, and said, with his watch in his hand, "O I really cannot go on winding up this watch over and over again; I wish you would take care of it." So Parkle laughed and consented, and the man went out of town. The man remained out of town so long that his letter- box became choked, and no more letters could be got into it, and they began to be left at the lodge, and to ac- cumulate there. At last the head-porter decided, on conference with the steward, to use his master-key and look into the chambers, and give them the benefit of a whiff of air. Then it was found that he had hanged himself to his bedstead, and had left this written mem- orandum: I should prefer to be cut down by my neigh- bour and friend (if he will allow me to call him so), H. Parkle, Esq." This was the end of Parkle's occupancy of chambers. He went into lodgings immediately. Third. While Parkle lived in Gray's Inn, and I myself was uncommercially preparing for the Bar,—— which is done, as everybody knows, by having a frayed old gown put on in a pantry by an old woman in a chronic state of Saint Anthony's fire and dropsy, and, so decorated, bolted a bad diner in a party of four, whereof each individual mistrusts the other three,——I say, while these things were, there was a certain elderly gentleman who lived in a court of the Temple, and was a great judge and lover of port wine. Every day he dined at his club, and drank his bottle or two of port wine, and every night came home to the Temple, and went to bed in his lonely chambers. This had gone on many years without variation, when one night he had a fit on coming home, and fell, and cut his head deep, but partly recovered, and groped about in the dark to find the door. When he was afterwards discovered dead, it was clearly established by the marks of his hands about the room that he must have done so. Now this chanced on the night of Christmas eve, and over him lived a young fellow who had sisters and young country friends, and who gave him a little party that night, in the course of which they played at Blindman's Buff. They played that game, for their greater sport, by the light of the fire only; and once, when they were all quietly rustling and stealing about, and the blindman was trying to pick out the prettiest sister (for which I am far from blaming him), somebody cried, Hark! the man below must be playing Blindman's Buff by himself to- night! They listened, and they heard sounds of some one falling about and stumbling against furniture; and they all laughed at the conceit, and went on with their play, more light-hearted and merry than ever. Thus those two so different games of life and death were played out together, blindfold, in the two sets of cham- bers. Such are the occurrences which, coming to my knowl- edge, imbued me long ago with a strong sense of lone- liness of chambers. There was a fantastic illustration to much the same purpose implicitly believed by a strange sort of man now dead, whom I knew when I had not quite arrived at legal years of discretion, though I was already in the uncommercial line. This was a man who, though not more than thirty, had seen the world in divers irreconcilable capacities,—— had been an officer in a South American regiment among other odd things,——but had not achieved much in any way of life, and was in debt, and in hiding. He occu- pied chambers of the dreariest nature in Lyons Inn; his name, however, was not upon the door, or door-post, but in lieu of it stood the name of a friend who had died in the chambers, and had given him the furniture. The story arose out of the furniture, and was to this effect: Let the former holder of the chambers, whose name was still upon the door and doorpost, be Mr. Testator. Mr. Testator took a set of chambers in Lyons Inn when he had but very scanty furniture for his bedroom, and none for his sitting-room. He had lived some wintry months in this condition, and had found it very bare and cold. One night, past midnight, when he sat writing, and still had writing to do that must be done before he went to bed, he found himself out of coals. He had coals down-stairs, but he had never been to his cellar; however, the cellar key was on his mantel-shelf, and if he went down, and opened the cellar it fitted, he might fairly assume the coals in that cellar to be his. As to his laundress, she lived among the coal-wagons and Thames watermen,——for there were Thames watermen at that time, in some unknown rat-hole by the river, down lanes and alleys on the other side of the Strand. As to any other person to meet him or obstruct him, Lyons Inn was dreaming, drunk, maudlin, moody, betting, brooding over bill discounting or renewing,——asleep or awake, minding its own affairs. Mr. Testator took his coal- scuttle in one hand, his candle and key in the other, and descended to the dismallest underground dens of Lyons Inn, where the late vehicles in the streets became thunderous, and all the water-pipes in the neighbourhood seemed to have Macbeth's Amen sticking in their throats, and to be trying to get it out. After groping here and there among the low doors to no purpose, Mr. Testator at length came to a door with a rusty padlock which his key fitted. Getting the door open with much trouble, and looking in, he found no coals, but a confused pile of furniture. Alarmed by this intrusion on another man's property, he locked the door again, found his own cellar, filled his scuttle, and returned up-stairs. But the furniture he had seen ran on castors across and across Mr. Testator's mind incessantly, when, in the chill hour of five in the morning, he got to bed. He particu- larly wanted a table to write at, an a table expressly made to be written at had been the piece of furniture in the foreground of the heap. When his laundress emerg- ed from her burrow in the morning to make his kettle boil, he artfully led up to the subject of cellars and furniture, but the two ideas had evidently no connec- tion in her mind. When she left him, and he sat at his breakfast, thinking about he furniture, he recalled the rusty state of the padlock, and inferred that the furni- ture must have been stored in the cellars for a long time, ——was perhaps forgotten——owner dead, perhaps? After thinking it over a few days, in the course of which he could pump nothing out of Lyons Inn about the furni- ture, he became desperate, and resolved to borrow that table. He did so that night. He had not the table long, when he determined to borrow an easy-chair; he had not had that long, when he made up his mind to borrow a book-case; then a couch; then a carpet and rug. By that time, he felt he was "in furniture stepped in so far" as that it could be no worse to borrow it all. Con- sequently he borrowed it all, and locked up the cellar for good. He had always locked it after every visit. He had carried up every separate article in the dead of the night, and, at the best, had felt as wicked as a Resur- rection Man. Every article was blue and furry when brought into his rooms; and he had had, in a murder- ous and guilty sort of way, to polish it up while London slept. Mr. Testator lived in his furnished chambers two or three years or more, and gradually lulled himself into the opinion that the furniture was his own. This was his convenient state of mind when, late one night, a step came up the stairs, and a hand passed over his door feeling for his knocker, and then one deep and solemn rap was rapped that might have been a spring in Mr. Testator's easy-chair to shoot him out of it; so promptly was it attended with that effect. With a candle in his hand, Mr. Testator went to the door, and found there a very pale and very tall man; a man who stooped; a man with very high shoulders, a very narrow chest, and a very red nose; a shabby-gen- teel man. He was wrapped in a long, threadbare, black coat, fastened up the front with more pins than buttons, and under his arm he squeezed an umbrella without a handle, as if he were playing bagpipes. He said, "I ask your pardon, but can you tell me——" and stopped; his eyes resting on some objects within the chambers. "Can I tell you what?" asked Mr. Testator, noting the stoppage with quick alarm. "I ask your pardon," said the stranger, "but——this is not the inquiry I was going to make——do I see in there any small articles of property belonging to me?" Mr. Testator was beginning to stammer that he was not aware——when the visitor slipped past him into the chambers. There in a goblin way which froze Mr. Tes- tator to the marrow, he examined, first, the writing- table, and said, "Mine"; then the easy-chair, and said, "Mine"; then the bookcase, and said, "Mine"; then turned up a corner of the carpet, and said, "Mine"; in a word, inspected every item of furniture from the cel- lar, in succession, and said, "Mine!" Towards the end of the investigation Mr. Testator perceived that he was sodden with liquor, and that the liquor was gin. He was not unsteady with gin, either in his speech or carri- age; but he was stiff with gin in both particulars. Mr. Testator was in a dreadful state, for (according to his making out of the story) the possible consequences of what he had done in recklessness and hardihood flashed upon him in their fulness for the first time. When they had stood gazing at one another for a little while, he tremulously began:—— "Sir, I am conscious that the fullest explanation, compensation, and restitution are your due. They shall be yours. Allow me to entreat that, without temper, without even natural irritation on your part, we may have a little——" "Drop of something to drink," interposed the stranger. "I am agreeable." Mr. Testator had intended to say, "a little quiet con- versation," but with great relief of mind adopted the amendment. He produced a decanter of gin, and was bustling about for hot water and sugar, when he found that his visitor had already drunk half of the decanter's contents. With hot water and sugar the visitor drank the remainder before he had been an hour in the cham- bers by the chimes of the church of St. Mary in the Strand; and during the process he frequently whispered to himself, "Mine!" The gin gone, and Mr. Testator wondering what was to follow it, the visitor rose and said, with increased stiffness, "At what hour of morning, sir, will it be convenient?" Mr. Testator hazarded, "At ten?" "Sir," said the visitor, "at ten to the moment I shall be here." He then contemplated Mr. Testator somewhat at leisure, and said, "God bless you! How is your wife?" Mr. Testator (who never had a wife) replied, with much feeling, "Deeply anxious, poor soul! but otherwise well." The visitor thereupon turned and went away, and fell twice in going down-stairs. From that hour he was never heard of. Whether he was a ghost, or a spectral illusion of conscience, or a drunken man who had no business there, or the drunken rightful owner of the furniture, with a transitory gleam of memory; whether he got safe home, or had no home to get to; whether he died of liquor on the way, or lived in liquor ever afterwards,——he never was heard of more. This was the story, received with the furniture, and held to be as substantial, by its second possessor in an upper set of chambers in grim Lyons Inn. It is to be remarked of chambers in general, that they must have been built for chambers, to have the right kind of loneliness. You may make a great dwelling- house very lonely, by isolating suites of rooms, and call- ing them chambers, but you cannot make the true kind of loneliness. In dwelling-houses there have been fam- ily festivals; children have grown in them, girls have bloomed into women in them, courtships and marriages have taken place in them. True chambers never were young, childish, maidenly; never had dolls in them, or rocking-horses, or christenings, or betrothals, or little coffins. Let Gray's Inn identify the child who first touched hands and hearts with Robinson Crusoe in any one of its many "sets," and that child's little statue, in white marble with a golden inscription, shall be at its service, at my cost and charge, as a drinking-fountain for the spirit, to freshen its thirsty square. Let Lin- coln's produce from all its houses a twentieth of the procession derivable from any dwelling-house, one twen- tieth of its age, of fair young brides who married for love and hope, not settlements, and all the Vice-Chan- cellors shall thenceforward be kept in nosegays for nothing, on application to the writer hereof. It is not denied that on the terrace of the Adelphi, or in any of the streets of that subterranean-stable-haunted spot, or about Bedford Row, or James Street of that ilk (a grew- some place), or anywhere among the neighbourhoods that have done flowering and have run to seed, you may find Chambers replete with the accommodations of Soli- tude, Closeness, and Darkness, where you may be as low-spirited as the genuine article, and might be as easily murdered, with the placid reputation of having merely gone down to the seaside. But the many waters of life did run musical in those dry channels once;—— among the Inns, never. The only popular legend known in relation to any one of the dull family of Inns is a dark Old Bailey whisper concerning Clement's and im- porting how the black creature who holds the sundial there was a negro who slew his master, and built the dismal pile out of the contents of his strong box,——for which architectural offence alone he ought to have been condemned to live in it. But what populace would waste fancy upon such a place, or on New Inn, Staple Inn, Barnard's Inn, or any of the shabby crew? The genuine laundress, too, is an institution not to be had in its entirety out of and away from the genuine Chambers. Again, it is not denied that you may be robbed elsewhere. Elsewhere you may have——for money ——dishonesty, drunkenness, dirt, laziness, and profound incapacity. But the veritable shining-red-faced, shame- less laundress,——the true Mrs. Sweeney, in figure, colour, texture, and smell like the old damp family umbrella, ——the tip-top complicated abomination of stockings, spirits, bonnet, limpness, looseness, and larceny,——is only to be drawn at the fountain-head. Mrs. Sweeney is beyond the reach of individual art. It requires the united efforts of several men to insure that great result, and it is only developed in perfection under an Honour- able Society and in an Inn of Court.
from Collier's Unabridged Edition: The Works of Charles Dickens, Volume VI. P.F. Collier, Publisher, New York, old as heck. p. 618 - 622 https://old.reddit.com/thesee[♘][♰][☮]雨 I.His General Line of Business.II.The Shipwreck.III.Wapping Workhouse.IV.Two Views of a Cheap Theatre.V.Poor Mercantile Jack.VI.Refreshments for Travellers.VII.Travelling Abroad.VIII.The Great Tasmania's CargoIX.City of London Churches.X.Shy Neighbourhoods.XI.Tramps.XII.Dullborough Town.XIII.Night Walks.XIV.Chambers.XV.Nurse's Stories.XVI.Arcadian London.XVII.The Calais Night-mail.XVIII.Some Recollections of Mortality.XIX.Birthday Celebrations.XX.Bound for the Great Salt Lake.XXI.The City of the Absent.XXII.An Old Stage-Coaching Horse.XXIII.The Boiled Beef of New England.XXIV.Chatham Dock-Yard.XXV.In the French-Flemish Country.XXVI.Medicine-Men of Civilization.XXVII.Titbull's Almshouses.XXVIII.The Italian Prisoner. engvall p. o. box 128 williamstown, ma 01267
By Charles Dickens X. Shy Neighbourhoods. SO much of my travelling is done on foot, that, if I cherished betting propensities, I should probably be found registered in sporting newspapers, under some such title as the Elastic Novice, challenging all eleven- stone mankind to competition in walking. My last spe- cial feat was turning out of bed at two, after a hard day, pedestrian or otherwise, and walking thirty miles into the country to breakfast. The road was so lonely in the night, that I fell asleep to the monotonous sound of my own feet, doing their regular four miles an hour. Mile after mile I walked, without the slightest sense of exertion, dozing heavily and dreaming constantly. It was only when I made a stumble like a drunken man, or struck out into the road to avoid a horseman close up- on me on the path,——who had no existence,——that I came to myself and looked about. The day broke mistily (it was autumn-time), and I could not disembarrass myself of the idea that I had to climb those heights and banks of cloud, and that there was an Alpine Covent somewhere behind the sun, where I was going to make breakfast. This sleepy notion was so much stronger than such substan- tal objects as villages and haystacks, that, after the sun was up and bright, and when I was sufficiently awake to have a sense of pleasure in the prospect, I still occa- sionally caught myself looking about for wooden arms to point the right track up the mountain, and wonder- ing there was no snow yet. It is a curiosity of broken sleep that I made immense quantities of verse on that pedestrian occasion (of course I never make any when I am in my right senses), and that I spoke a certain lan- guage once pretty familiar to me, but which I have nearly forgotten from disuse, with fluency. Of both these phenomena I have such frequent experience, in the state between sleeping and waking, that I some- times argue with myself that I know I cannot be awake, for, if I were, I should not be half so ready. The readi- ness is not imaginary, because I often recall long strings of the verses, and many turns of the fluent speech, after I am broad awake. My walking is of two kinds: one, straight on end to a definite goal at a round pace; one, objectless, loiter- ing, and purely vagabond. In the latter state, no gypsy on earth is a greater vagabond than myself; it is so natural to me and strong with me, that I think I must be the descendant, at no great distance, of some irre- claimable tramp. One of the pleasantest things I have lately met with, in a vagabond course of shy metropolitan neighbour- hoods and small shops, is the fancy of a humble artist, as exemplified in two portraits representing Mr. Thomas Sayers, of Great Britain, and Mr. John Heenan, of the United States if America. These illustrious men are highly coloured in the fighting trim, and fighting atti- tude. To suggest the pastoral and meditative nature of their peaceful calling, Mr. Heenan is represented on emerald sward, with primroses and other modest flow- ers springing up under the heels of his half-boots; while Mr. Sayers is impelled to the administration of his favourite blow, the Auctioneer, by the silent elo- quence of a village church. The humble homes of Eng- land, with their domestic virtues and honeysuckle porches, urge both heroes to go in and win; and the lark and other singing-birds are observable in the upper air ecstatically carolling their thanks to Heaven for a fight. On the whole the associations intwined with the pugilistic art by this artist are much in the manner of Izaak Walton. But it is with the lower animals of back streets and by-ways that my present purpose rests. For human notes we may return to such neighbourhoods when leis- ure and opportunity serve. Nothing in shy neighbourhoods perplexes my mind more than the bad company birds keep. Foreign birds often get into good society, but British birds are insep- arable from low associations. There is a whole street of them in Saint Giles's, and I always find them in poor and immoral neighbourhoods, convenient to the public- house and the pawnbroker's. They seem to lead people into drinking, and even the man who makes their cages usually gets into a chronic state of black eye. Why is this? Also, they will do things for people in short- skirted velveteen coats with bone buttons, or in sleeved waistcoats and fur caps, which they cannot be persuaded by the respectable orders of society to undertake. In a dirty court in Spitalfields, once, I found a goldfinch draw- ing his own water, and drawing as much of it as if he were in a consuming fever. The goldfinch lived in a bird- shop, and offered, in writing, to barter himself against old clothes, empty bottles, or even kitchen-stuff. Surely a low thing and a depraved taste in any finch! I bought that goldfinch for money. He was sent home, and hung upon a nail over against my table. He lived outside a counterfeit dwelling-house, supposed (as I argued) to be a dyer's; otherwise it would have been impossible to account for his perch sticking out of the garret window. From the time of his appearance in my room, either he left off being thirsty,——which was not in the bond,——or he could not make up his mind to hear his little bucket drop back into his well when he let it go,——a shock which in the best of times had made him tremble. He drew no water but by stealth and under the cloak of night. After an interval of futile and at length hopeless expec- tation, the merchant who had educated him was appealed to. The merchant was a bow-legged character, with a flat and cushiony nose, like the last new strawberry. He wore a fur cap, and shorts, and was of the velveteen race velveteeny. He sent word that he would "look round." He looked round, appeared in the doorway of the room, and slightly cocked up his evil eye at the gold- finch. Instantly a raging thirst beset that bird; when it was appeased, he still drew several unnecessary buck- ets of water; and finally leaped about his perch and sharpened his bill, as if he had been to the nearest wine- vaults and got drunk. Donkeys again. I know shy neighbourhoods where the Donkey goes in at the street door, and appears to live up stairs, for I have examined the back yard from over the palings, and have been unable to make him out. Gentility, nobility, Royalty, would appeal to that donkey in vain to do what he does for a costermonger. Feed him with oats at the highest price, put an infant prince and princess in a pair of panniers on his back, adjust his delicate trappings to a nicety, take him to the softest slopes at Windsor, and try what pace you can get out of him. Then starve him, harness him anyhow to a truck with a flat tray on it, and see him bowl from White- chapel to Bayswater. There appears to be no particular private understanding between birds and donkeys in a state of nature; but in the shy-neighbourhood state you shall see them always in the same hands, and always de- veloping their very best energies for the very worst com- pany. I have known a donkey——by sight; we were not on speaking terms——who lived over on the Surrey side of London Bridge, among the fastnesses of Jacob's Island and Dockhead. It was the habit of that animal, when his services were not in immediate requisition, to go out alone, idling. I have met him, a mile from his place of residence, loitering about the streets; and the expres- sion of his countenance at such times was most degrad- ed. He was attached to the establishment of an elderly lady who sold periwinkles; and he used to stand on Sat- urday nights with a cartful of those delicacies outside a gin-shop, pricking up his ears when a customer came to the cart, and too evidently deriving satisfaction from the knowledge that they got bad measure. His mis- tress was sometimes overtaken by inebriety. The last time I ever saw him (about five years ago) he was in circumstances of difficulty, caused by this failing. Having been left alone with the cart of periwinkles, and forgotten, he went off idling. He prowled among his usual low haunts for some time, gratifying his depraved tastes, until, not taking the cart into his calculations, he endeavoured to turn up a narrow alley, and became great- ly involved. He was taken into custody by the police, and, the Green Yard of that district being near at hand, was backed into that place of durance. At that crisis I encountered him; the stubborn sense he evinced of be- ing——not to compromise the expression——a blackguard, I never saw exceeded in the human subject. A flaring candle in a paper shade, stuck in among his periwinkles, showed him, with his ragged harness broken and his cart extensively shattered, twitching his mouth and shak- ing his tangled head, a picture of disgrace and obdu- racy. I have seen boys, being taken to station-houses, who were as like him as his own brother. The dogs of shy neighbourhood I observe to avoid play, and to be conscious of poverty. They avoid work, too, if they can, of course: that is in the nature of all ani- mals. I have the pleasure to know a dog in a back street in the neighbourhood of Walworth, who has gravely dis- tinguished himself in the minor drama, and who takes his portrait with him, when he makes an engagement, for the illustration of the play-bill. His portrait (which is not at all like him) represents him in the act of drag- ging to the earth a recreant Indian, who is supposed to have tomahawked, or essayed to tomahawk, a British officer. The design is pure poetry; for there is no such Indian in the piece, and no such incident. He is a dog of the Newfoundland breed, for whose honesty I would be bail to any amount; but whose intellectual qualities in association with dramatic fiction, I cannot rate high. Indeed, he is too honest for the profession he has entered. Being at a town in Yorkshire last summer, and seeing him posted in the bill of the night, I attended the per- formance. His first scene was eminently successful; but, as it occupied a second in its representation (and five lines in the bill), it scarcely afforded ground for a cool and deliberate judgment of his powers. He had merely to bark, run on, and jump through an inn win- dow after a comic fugitive. The next scene of impor- tance to the fable was a little marred in its interest by his over-anxiety, forasmuch as, while his master (a be- lated soldier in a den of robbers on a tempestuous night) was feelingly lamenting the absence of his faithful dog, and laying great stress on the fact that he was thirty leagues away, the faithful dog was barking furiously in the prompter's box, and clearly choking himself against his collar. But it was in his greatest scene of all that his honesty got the better of him. He had to enter a dense and trackless forest, on the trail of the murderer, and there to fly at the murderer when he found him resting at the foot of a tree, with his victim bound ready for slaughter. It was a hot night, and he came into the forest from an altogether unexpected direction, in the sweetest temper, at a very deliberate trot, not in the least excited; trotted to the foot-lights with his tongue out; and there sat down, panting, and amiably survey- ing the audience, with his tail beating on the boards, like a Dutch clock. Meanwhile the murderer, impatient to receive his doom, was audibly calling to him, CO-O-ME here!" while the victim, struggling with his bonds, assailed him with the most injurious expressions. It happened, through these means, that when he was in course of time persuaded to trot up and rend the murderer limb from limb, he made it (for dramatic purposes) a little too obvious that he worked out that awful retribution by licking butter off his bloodstained hands. In a shy street, behind Long Acre, two honest dogs live who perform in Punch's shows. I may venture to say that I am on terms of intimacy with both, and that I never saw either guilty of the falsehood of failing to look down at the man inside the show, during the whole performance. The difficulty other dogs have in satisfy- ing their minds about these dogs appears to be never overcome by time. The same dogs must encounter them over and over again, as they trudge along in their off minutes behind the legs of the show and beside the drum; but all dogs seem to suspect their frills and jackets, and to sniff at them as if they thought those articles of personal adornment an eruption,——a something in the nature of mange, perhaps. From this Covent Garden window of mine I noticed a country dog, only the other day, who had come up to Covent Garden Mar- ket under a cart, and had broken his cord, an end of which he still trailed along with him. He loitered about the corners of the four streets commanded by my win- dow; and bad London dogs came up, and told him lies that he didn't believe; and worse London dogs came up, and made proposals to him to go and steal in the market, which his principles rejected; and the ways of the town confused him, and he crept aside, and lay down in a door-way. He had scarcely got a wink of sleep, when up comes Punch with Toby. He was darting to Toby for consolation and advice, when he saw the frill, and stopped in the middle of the street, appalled. The show was pitched, Toby retired behind the drapery, the audi- ence formed, the drum and pipes struck up. My coun- try dog remained immovable, intensely staring at these strange appearances, until Toby opened the drama by appearing on his ledge, and to him entered Punch, who put a tobacco pipe into Toby's mouth. At the spectacle the country dog threw up his head, gave one terrible howl, and fled due west. We talk of men keeping dogs, but we might often talk more expressively of dogs keeping men. I know a bull-dog in a shy corner of Hammersmith who keeps a man. He keeps him up a yard, and makes him go to public-houses and lay wagers on him, and obliges him to lean against posts and look at him, and forces him to neglect work for him, and keeps him under rigid co- ercion. I once knew a fancy terrier who kept a gentle- man,——a gentleman who had been brought up at Oxford too. The dog kept the gentleman entirely for his glori- fication, and the gentleman never talked about anything but the terrier. This, however, was not in a shy neigh- bourhood, and is a digression consequently. There are a great many dogs in shy neighbourhoods who keep boys. I have my eye on a mongrel in Somers- town who keeps three boys. He feigns that he can bring down sparrows, and unburrow rats (he can do do neither), and he takes the boys out on sporting pre- tences into all sorts of suburban fields. He has likewise made them believe that he possesses some mysterious knowledge of the art of fishing, and they consider them- selves incompletely equipped for the Hampstead ponds, with a pickle-jar and a wide-mouthed bottle, unless he is with them and barking tremendously. There is a dog residing in the Borough of Southwick who keeps a blind man. He may be seen, most days, in Oxford street, haling the blind man away on expeditions wholly uncon- templated by, and unintelligible to, the man,——wholly of the dog's conception and execution. Contrariwise, when the man has projects, the dog will sit down in a crowded thoroughfare and meditate. I saw him yester- day, wearing the money tray like an easy collar, instead of offering it to the public, taking the man against his will, on the invitation of a disreputable cur, apparently to visit a dog at Harrow,——he was so intent on that di- rection. The north wall of Burlington House Gardens, between the Arcade and the Albany, offers a shy spot for appointments among blind men at about two or three o'clock in the afternoon. They sit (very uncomfortably) on a sloping stone there, and compare notes. Their dogs may always be observed at the same time openly dispar- aging the men they keep to one another, and settling where they shall respectively take their men when they begin to move again. At a small butcher's in a shy neighbourhood (there is no reason for suppressing the name; it is by Notting Hill, and gives upon the district called the Potteries), I know a shaggy black and white dog who keeps a drover. He is a dog of an easy dispo- sition, and too frequently allows this drover to get drunk. On these occasions it is the dog's custom to sit outside the public-house, keeping his eye on a few sheep, and thinking. I have seen him with six sheep, plainly cast- ing up in his mind how many he began with when he left the market, and at what places he has left the rest. I have seen him perplexed by not being able to account to himself for certain particular sheep. A light has gradually broken on him, he has remembered at what butcher's he left them, and in a burst of grave satisfac- tion has caught a fly off his nose, and shown himself much relieved. If I could at any time have doubted the fact that it was he who kept the drover, and not the drover who kept him, it would have been abundantly proved by his way of taking undivided charge of the six sheep, when the drover came out besmeared with red ochre and beer, and gave him wrong directions, which he calmly disregarded. He has taken the sheep entirely into his own hands, has merely remarked, with respect- ful firmness, "That instruction would place him under an omnibus; you had better confine your attention to yourself——you will want it all"; and has driven his charge away, with an intelligence of ears and tail, and a knowledge of business, that has left his lout of a man very, very far behind. As the dogs of shy neighbourhoods usually betray a slinking consciousness of being in poor circumstances,—— for the most part manifested in an aspect of anxiety, an awkwardness in their play, and a misgiving that some- body is going to harass them to something, to pick up a living,——so the cats of shy neighbourhoods exhibit a strong tendency to relapse into barbarism. Not only are they made selfishly ferocious by ruminating on the sur- plus population around them, and on the densely crowded state of all the avenues to cat's meat,——not only is there a moral and politico-economical haggardness in them, traceable to these reflections,——but they evince a physical deterioration. Their linen is not clean, and is wretchedly got up; their black turns rusty, like old mourning; they wear very indifferent fur, and take on the shabbiest cotton velvet, instead of silk velvet. I am on terms of recog- nition with several small streets of cats, about the obe- lisk in Saint George's Fields, and also in the vicinity of Clerkenwell Green, and also in the back settlements of Drury Lane. In appearance they are very like the wo- men among whom they live. They seem to turn out of their unwholesome beds into the street without any pre- paration. They leave their young families to stagger about the gutters unassisted, while they frowzily quarrel and swear and scratch and spit, at street corners. In particular, I remark that when they are about to increase their families (an event of frequent recurrence) the re- semblance is strongly expressed in a certain dusty dow- diness, down-at-heel self-neglect, and general giving up of things. I cannot honestly report that I have ever seen a feline matron of this class washing her face when in an interesting condition. Not to prolong these notes of uncommercial travel among the lower animals of shy neighbourhoods, by dwelling at length upon the exasperated moodiness of the tomcats, and their resemblance in many respects to a man and a brother, I will come to a close with a word on the fowls of the same localities. That anything born of an egg and invested with wings should have got to the pass that it hops contentedly down a ladder into a cellar, and calls that going home, is a circumstance so amazing as to leave one nothing more in this connection to wonder at. Otherwise I might wonder at the completeness with which these fowls have become separated from all the birds of the air,—— have taken to grovelling in bricks and mortar and mud, ——have forgotten all about live trees, and make roosting- places of shop-boards, barrows, oyster-tubs, bulkheads, and door-scrapers. I wonder at nothing concerning them, and take them as they are. I accept as products of Na- ture and things of course a reduced Bantam family of my acquaintance in the Hackney Road, who are inces- santly at the pawnbroker's. I cannot say that they en- joy themselves, for they are of a melancholy tempera- ment; but what enjoyment they are capable of they derive from crowding together in the pawnbroker's side- entry. Here they are always to be found in a feeble flutter, as if they were newly come down in the world, and were afraid of being identified. I know a low fel- low, originally of a good family from Dorking, who takes his whole establishment of wives, in a single file, in at the door of the Jug Department of a disorderly tavern near the Haymarket, manœvres them among the company's legs, emerges with them at the Bottle Entrance, and so passes his life; seldom, in the season, going to bed before two in the morning. Over Water- loo Bridge there is a shabby old speckled couple (they belong to the wooden French bedstead, washing-stand, and towel-horse making trade), who are always trying to get in at the door of a chapel. Whether the old lady, under a delusion reminding one of Mrs. Southcott, has an idea of intrusting an egg to that particular denomina- tion, or merely understands that she has no business in the building, and is consequently frantic to enter it, I cannot determine; but she is constantly endeavouring to undermine the principal door; while her partner, who is infirm upon his legs, walks up and down, encour- aging her and defying the Universe. But the fam- ily I have been best acquainted with since the removal from this trying sphere of a Chinese circle at Brentford, reside in the densest part of Bethnal Green. Their abstraction from the objects among which they live, or rather their conviction that these objects have all come into existence in express subservience to fowls, has so enchanted me, that I have made them the subject of many journeys at divers hours. After careful observa- tion of the two lords and the ten ladies of whom this family consists, I have come to the conclusion that their opinions are represented by the leading lord and leading lady; the latter, as I judge, an aged personage, afflicted with a paucity of feather and a visibility of quill, that gives her the appearance of a bundle of office pens. When a railway goods-van that would crush an ele- phant comes round the corner, tearing over these fowls, they emerge unharmed from under their horses, perfectly satisfied that the whole rush was a passing property in the air, which may have left something to eat behind it. They look upon old shoes, wrecks of kettles and sauce- pans, fragments of bonnets, as a kind of meteoric discharge for fowls to peck at. Peg-tops and hoops they account, I think as a sort of hail; shuttlecocks, as rain or dew; gas-light comes quite as natural to them as any other light; and I have more than a suspicion that, in the minds of the two lords, the early public-house at the corner has superseded the sun. I have established it as a certain fact, that they always begin to crow when the public-house shutters begin to be taken down, and they salute the pot-boy, the instant he appears to perform that duty, as if he were Phœbus in person.
from Collier's Unabridged Edition: The Works of Charles Dickens, Volume VI. P.F. Collier, Publisher, New York, old as heck. p. 607 - 610 https://old.reddit.com/thesee[♘][♰][☮]雨 I.His General Line of Business.II.The Shipwreck.III.Wapping Workhouse.IV.Two Views of a Cheap Theatre.V.Poor Mercantile Jack.VI.Refreshments for Travellers.VII.Travelling Abroad.VIII.The Great Tasmania's CargoIX.City of London Churches.X.Shy Neighbourhoods.XI.Tramps.XII.Dullborough Town.XIII.Night Walks.XIV.Chambers.XV.Nurse's Stories.XVI.Arcadian London.XVII.The Calais Night-mail.XVIII.Some Recollections of Mortality.XIX.Birthday Celebrations.XX.Bound for the Great Salt Lake.XXI.The City of the Absent.XXII.An Old Stage-Coaching Horse.XXIII.The Boiled Beef of New England.XXIV.Chatham Dock-Yard.XXV.In the French-Flemish Country.XXVI.Medicine-Men of Civilization.XXVII.Titbull's Almshouses.XXVIII.The Italian Prisoner. engvall p. o. box 128 williamstown, ma 01267
By Arthur G. Staples ON "FACES WAITING AT THE WINDOW" EVERYBODY smiled and many persons waited and looked a while, some even loitering about the gateway and calling persons' attention to it as they came along. It was not much——only two small boys with their bibs on looking out the window, down the long street, waiting for dad to come home from work. Their bibs indicated that they were ready for the noon meal——we eat dinner at noon, in Maine, as a rule—— and their bibs also indicated that they were not more than five years of age. One, in fact, was four, and the other was three. Two girls of about ten and eight were in the background. Four of them——rosy, healthy, red-cheeked, looking out of the window, waiting for dad. "By jove," said several men who came along as I was loitering looking at them, "you can't beat it. Look at that youngest boy! Ain't he a buster! Bet he'll weigh forty pounds. Nothin' finer anywhere than a lot of young ones. Druther have 'em than a million dollars." A school marm, whom I happen to know, looked at them less enthusiastically than some of the rest of us. She had a rather weary look in her eyes as she watched them. The smaller boy was pressing his nose against the pane and flattening it out of perspective. "Fine," said I tentatively, standing around to get impressions for future use. "Ye-e-es!" said she rater gray and drab-like. It was a drawing in of the breath; a "yes" that is inhaled, as for relief, rather than exhaled for belief. They are lovely, I think; but I——I could get tired even of orchids." A woman who works in one of the shops came along and said as she looked at them, "Cunning! Guess my youngsters are hungry waiting for me, too. I've two of the nicest children on THIS hill." Declared opinions on comparative children are never "copy," so she passed on and smiled and waved a hand to the two boys, still pressing their noses against the pane. The ice-man who came down the hill with a clatter of wheels, seemed to know the boys. They seemed to recognize him. Up and down they danced and banged the window. The ice-man laughed all over. Good friends, apparently. Probably they have talked politics or boy-stuff together in the backyard this spring. May- be he is one of those men who know what a small boy would care to talk about——squirrels, perhaps; or maybe the information eagerly sought that he had run across a black bear as he was driving his ice-cart over be- yond the "heights" the other day. Maybe they have organized a bear-hunt for "some day." A dad who has a window full of youngsters waiting for him to come to feed, has a responsibility and a hap- piness. He will see them afar and wave. He will do a fancy step or two on the walk when he sees them and they will convulse with glee——dad IS such a funny man. He will pretend not to be able to see them when he gets into the house and pretend to hunt for the cling- ing arms and belligerent poundings on his anatomy. He will wonder if dinner is ready; just to be assured. He will boost the youngest into the air and catch him. It is not so much what he does–—if only the young- sters who do not wait for him and generally want him to come home——boys or girls, it matters not, the way of life is the same——has something that he ought to think about. Of course, dad has the best of it. Mother is often an old story. She is not in the window. She is in the kitchen. She and the school-marm both inhale their "Yesses." Dad is a change. Dad is a new thing. And dad does not want to take himself too seriously. When the pinch comes and there is a choice between the serv- ices of the two——mother wins. But that has nothing to do with the case. If you are not awaited by the child you should look into it. You are not making home over and above happy. And what is there for you, if there be not joy in your train around the house. What is there in it for anyone if you are dark cloud from which children flee! Come on, youngsters! All of you, old and young. Make merry around the Tree of Life. It is bright; full of light and joys. The children wait. The firelight gleams. All is peace.
By Arthur G. Staples ON "HELPING THE BOY" HERE and there you find a man who thinks of boys in terms of their potentiality and who desires to help them. They are always good men and they want boys to grow up to be good and useful men. How many men who may read this give any thought to boyhood ex- cept as it comes within the range of their own families and how many ever pay any attention to the deserving, needy boy to whom a life, now, would mean a life of enlarged usefulness and benefit to society? Forty years ago, one summer noon, I stood in front of my home watching some boys playing baseball in the street. I was through high school at the age of fifteen and wanted to go to college for which I was fitted. I saw the fine young son of a wealthy man com- ing up the street and envied him; for he was soon to enter Harvard. He stopped as we fell into talk and he asked me if I were going to college. I begged the question and he went along. That night the boy's fa- ther asked me to his house and put up a proposition that enabled me to keep my self-respect; pay back my indebtedness when able and get through college. All he did was to give me a lift when I needed it. He lost nothing; I gained everything. I taught school and car- ried my meals in my pocket to and from college and never noticed that it was observed by anyone; or if it were it operated to no personal discomfiture or any loss of friends. It taught me the value of money and the value of thoughtfulness toward boys. I never have for- gotten it, for a day or an hour, and have done what I could for other boys, in part payment for the other boy's thoughtfulness and the kindness of his father. I am not saying this in any self-appreciative way. It is merely a fact. The value of a boy is considerable. The railroads pay a fixed sum (in some states of the Union, $10,000) for a man whom a railroad has killed in an accident. A live boy, saved to a life of usefulness, is worth more than a dead man. This is why all sorts of socialized endeavor to save boys from vicious ways and direct them to ways of human betterment, are commercial economy. This is why we go into community work to keep boys from the streets. It pays. It adds a factor of production; it subtracts a factor of expense, when we convert a person who might be a criminal liability into a productive asset. It adds something else than material value; it adds to the well-spring of idealism and religious and ethical impulse which must underly the city or the state, if it is to be a good city or a good state. This writing was suggested by Dr. Stephens's little story in the Youth's Companion about "The Old Squire's Book." No man living in this country has done more for boys with his masterly pen than the boys' old friend, C. A. Stephens of Norway, Me. Every boy who has read the Youth's Companion (and who has not?) is indebted to him for clean, sweet reading, full of appeal to make sound, honest, helpful men and women. Dr. Stephens has been trying to get a copy of this Old Squire's Book. He has not succeeded. He tells how the old squire happened to write the book after he was seventy years of age——and of course everyone who has read Dr. Stephens's stories knows all about "The Old Squire" and loves him. It must have been a wonderful book——a compendium of all knowl- edge entitled "A Book for Boys and Girls." It told all about the earth and the heavens, every kind of useful information, over 450 pages of fine nonpareil type, printed and bound right near the old squire's home. The old squire wrote this laboriously, much of it won- derfully strong and fine, and issued an edition of 700 copies. It cost him much money. He read the proof, painstakingly, and he drove to the village fifty times at least on matters relating to the book. "I do not be- lieve that anything equaling it ever done before or ever has been done since," says Dr. Stephens. "It was an education, in itself." The old squire gave the books away to boys and girls. He always took one with him when he rode about. If he saw a boy on the road he always asked him to ride——this had always been his custom. He was six or seven years, giving these books away. They went mostly to boys. He had intended to keep three copies but he gave these away, and last one to a lame boy. The other day a member of Congress on the Pacific coast wrote Dr. Stephens asking, in vain it is feared, for another copy of the old Squire's book. "I felt worse at losing that book than anything else," wrote that Congressman. "Seeing the Greek alphabet in that book and reading the selection from Xenophon's Anab- asis in it, led me to fit for college. * * * One day on my way to town to buy firecrackers, the old squire asked me to ride. He asked me what I knew about fire- crackers and that led him to talk about China and Chi- nese. When he got to the store he gave me the book. I used to spend hours reading it; but I don't think I ever thought to come to him and thank him for it. I suppose the old squire can hardly be alive now; but if he is, I shall be much inclined to come to Maine on pur- pose to see him and thank him for that book. I want to take his hand and look into his kind face and tell him how much I owe to him." I think there is nothing more to be said. One bet- ter have a monument like this than his name on the roster of a nation placed there by self-seeking and by wealth.
from Jack in the Pulpit, by Arthur G. Staples Copyright, 1921, A. G. Staples Lewiston Journal Company, Lewiston, Maine; pp. 207—210. یہ آپ کی جگہ ہے ایک دوسرے کے لئے قسم کی ہو.https://old.reddit.com/thesee[♘][♰][☮]雨 History of the Jewish Church, vol. I — Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D.D. [Preface][Introduction] I : The Call of Abraham [i.][ii.] II : Abraham and Isaac [i.][ii.] III : Jacob [i.][ii.] IV : Israel in Egypt [i.][ii.] V : The Exodus [i.][ii.] VI : The Wilderness [i.] VII : Sinai and the Law [i.][ii.] VIII : Kadesh and Pisgah [i.][ii.] IX : The Conquest of Palestine [i.] X : The Conquest of Western Palestine—The Fall of Jericho [i.] XI : The Conquest of Western Palestine—Battle of Beth-horon [i.] XII : The Battle of Merom and Settlement of the Tribes [i.] XII : The Battle of Merom and Settlement of the Tribes [ii.] XIII : Israel Under the Judges [i.][ii.][iii.] XIV : Deborah [i.][ii.] XV : Gideon [i.][ii.] XVI : Jephthah and Samson [i.][ii.] XVII : The Fall of Shiloh [i.] XVIII : Samuel and the Prophetical Office [i.][ii.] XIX : The History of the Prophetical Order [i.][ii.] XX : On the Nature of the Prophetical Teachings [i.][ii.] Appendix I : The Traditional Localities of Abraham's Migration [i] Appendix II : The Cave at Machpelah [i.][ii.] Appendix III : The Samaritan Passover [i.] History of the Jewish Church, vol. II [Preface] XXI : The House of Saul [i.][ii.] XXII : The Youth of David [i.][ii.] XXIII : The Reign of David [i.][ii.] XXIV : The Fall of David [i.][ii.] XXV : The Psalter of David [i.][ii.] XXVI : The Empire of Solomon [i.][ii.] XXVII : The Temple of Solomon [i.][ii.] XXVIII : The Wisdom of Solomon [i.][ii.] XXIX : The House of Jeroboam—Ahijah and Iddo [i.][ii.] XXX : The House of Omri—Elijah [i.][ii.] XXXI : The House of Omri—Elisha [i.] XXXII : The House of Omri—Jehu [i.] XXXIII : The House of Jehu—The Syrian Wars, and the Prophet Jonah [i.] XXXIV : The Fall of Samaria [i.] XXXV : The First Kings of Judah [i.][ii.] XXXVI : The Jewish Priesthood [i.][ii.] XXXVII : The Age of Uzziah [i.][ii.] XXXVIII : Hezekiah [i.][ii.] XXXIX : Manasseh and Josiah [i.][ii.] XL : Jeremiah and the Fall of Jerusalem [i.][ii.][iii.][iv.][Notes, Volume II] History of the Jewish Church, vol. III [Preface] XLI : The Babylonian Captivity [i.][ii.][iii.] XLII : The Fall of Babylon [i.][ii.] XLIII : Persian Dominon—The Return [i.][ii.] XLIV : Ezra and Nehemiah [i.][ii.][iii.] XLV : Malachi [i.][ii.][iii.] XLVI : Socrates [i.][ii.][iii.] XLVII : Alexandria [i.][ii.][iii.] XLVIII : Judas Maccabæus [i.][ii.][iii.][iv.] XLIX : The Asmonean Dynasty [i.][ii.][iii.] L : Herod [i.][ii.][iii.][iv.][v.] (i.)(ii.)(iii.) https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8lVTi6EIcF [anything helps. no amount too small. eternal thanks.] Professor Pileni's Resignation as Editor-in-Chief of the Open Chemical Physics Journal: an open letter from Dr. Niels Harrit After the paper entitled "Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe," which I along with eight colleagues co-authored, was published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, its editor-in-chief, Professor Marie-Paule Pileni, abruptly resigned. It has been suggested that this resignation casts doubt on the scientific soundness of our paper. However, Professor Pileni did the only thing she could do, if she wanted to save her career. After resigning, she did not criticize our paper. Rather, she said that she could not read and evaluate it, because, she claimed, it lies outside the areas of her expertise. But that is not true, as shown by information contained on her own website. Her List of Publications reveals that Professor Pileni has published hundreds of articles in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology. She is, in fact, recognized as one of the leaders in the field. Her statement about her "major advanced research" points out that, already by 2003, she was "the 25th highest cited scientist on nanotechnology". Since the late 1980s, moreover, she has served as a consultant for the French Army and other military institutions. From 1990 to 1994, for example, she served as a consultant for the Société Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs (National Society for Powders and Explosives). She could, therefore, have easily read our paper, and she surely did. But by denying that she had read it, she avoided the question that would have inevitably been put to her: "What do you think of it?" Faced with that question, she would have had two options. She could have criticized it, but that would have been difficult without inventing some artificial criticism, which she as a good scientist with an excellent reputation surely would not have wanted to do. The only other option would have been to acknowledge the soundness of our work and its conclusions. But this would have threatened her career. Professor Pileni's resignation from the journal provides an insight into the conditions for free speech at our universities and other academic institutions in the aftermath of 9/11. This situation is a mirror of western society as a whole---even though our academic institutions should be havens in which research is evaluated by its intrinsic excellence, not its political correctness. In Professor Pileni's country, France, the drive to curb the civil rights of professors at the universities is especially strong, and the fight is fierce. I will conclude with two points. First, the cause of 9/11 truth is not one that she has taken up, and the course of action she chose was what she had to do to save her career. I harbor no ill feelings toward Professor Pileni for the choice she made. Second, her resignation from the journal because of the publication of our paper implied nothing negative about the paper. Indeed, the very fact that she offered no criticisms of it provided, implicitly, a positive evaluation--- an acknowledgment that its methodology and conclusions could not credibly be challenged. (Reprinted from 911blogger.com) South Tower Molten Metal & Collapse May 2011 BBC Interview with Dr. Niels Harrit Hypothesis -- Steven E. Jones NIST engineer John Gross denies WTC molten steel 9/11 Mysteries: Demolitions [molten metal] WTC7 in Freefall: No Longer Controversial Quit crying. The propaganda machine is broken beyond repair. You need to tell the truth. I.His General Line of Business.II.The Shipwreck.III.Wapping Workhouse.IV.Two Views of a Cheap Theatre.V.Poor Mercantile Jack.VI.Refreshments for Travellers.VII.Travelling Abroad.VIII.The Great Tasmania's CargoIX.City of London Churches.X.Shy Neighbourhoods.XI.Tramps.XII.Dullborough Town.XIII.Night Walks.XIV.Chambers.XV.Nurse's Stories.XVI.Arcadian London.XVII.The Calais Night-mail.XVIII.Some Recollections of Mortality.XIX.Birthday Celebrations.XX.Bound for the Great Salt Lake.XXI.The City of the Absent.XXII.An Old Stage-Coaching Horse.XXIII.The Boiled Beef of New England.XXIV.Chatham Dock-Yard.XXV.In the French-Flemish Country.XXVI.Medicine-Men of Civilization.XXVII.Titbull's Almshouses.XXVIII.The Italian Prisoner. engvall p. o. box 128 williamstown, ma 01267 [email protected] https://twitter.com/marleyengvallhttps://facebook.com/marley.engvall I. The Dawn. II. A Dean, and a Chapter also. III. The Nuns' House. IV. Mr. Sapsea. V. Mr. Durdles and Friend. VI. Philanthropy in Minor Canon Corner. VII. More Confidences Than One. VIII. Daggers Drawn. IX. Birds in the Bush. X. Smoothing the Way. XI. A Picture and a Ring. XII. A Night with Durdles. XIII. Both at their Best. XIV. When shall these Three meet again? XV. Impeached. XVI. Devoted. XVII. Philanthropy, Professional and Unprofessional. XVIII. A Settler in Cloisterham. XIX. Shadow on the Sundial. XX. A Flight. XXI. A Recognition. XXII. (i.)(ii.) A Gritty State of Things comes on. XXVIII. (i.)(ii.) The Dawn Again. یہ آپ کی جگہ ہے ایک دوسرے کے لئے قسم کی ہو.https://old.reddit.com/thesee[♘][♰][☮]雨
By Yael Dragwyla, a.k.a. Furshlugginer492 From Dragon Drive Volume II, Book 1: From Monty Eisenstein's childhood . . . Taking the problem out of my hands, Monty told me, “It’s all right, Sugar. Really. So: What would you like to know? I mean, yeah, I was born in Providence, mainly ’cause Mom’s relatives insisted on it. Daddy wanted to use his dependent benefits to have Mom give birth in a hospital where it’d be covered by his military health insurance an’ all that, but Mom’s family said they’d cover ever’thin’, which they did, they wasn’t cheapskates, at least not when it came to that sort o’ thing, an’ they had money. An’ . . . more things,” he said, as if he really didn’t want to give details about it. “For years after I was born, Mom used to take me with her to visit her relatives several times a year, somethin’ both Daddy an’ I hated, but you couldn’t really argue with it on the face of it, an’ Daddy wasn’t the type to use force on a woman for any reason, so Mom went to see her parents an’ other relatives as often as she wanted, an’ she always took me with her when she went. They lived at 10 Barnes Street in Providence, a property where, supposedly, H. P. Lovecraft hisself lived at one time, though the house he was supposed to have lived in there had been torn down in 1950 an' replaced by the house that Mom's parents and brother lived in. “Anyways, the funny thing was, Mom really didn’t want to go on those visits. She had to go, an’ I sort of knew why, but Daddy never did understand. Mom wasn’t . . . wasn’t her own master. Mistress. Whatever. When her mother said ‘Hop!’, Mom jumped and asked ‘How high?’ on the way up. She was scared outta her skull not to. An’ it wasn’t even the normal sort o’ child abuse – if’n ‘normal’ is the word I really want – it wasn’t the usual sort o’ thing you hear about, chronic child abuse, though you can bet there was plenty o’ that! Daddy an’ I was both sure that Mom’s dad did things to her on a regular basis that no one should do to a child, ’specially their own, not to mention her brother, my Uncle Benjamin, an’ mebbe some other siblin’s, too, the ones I got hints of from time to time. At times Mom seemed bat-shit crazy, but with a family like hers, you could see why. But whatever her dad did to her, it couldn’t’a been a patch on the things her mother did to her and anyone else she had power over.” “Wh-what things, Monty?” He closed his eyes, and for a moment I thought he wasn’t going to say any more. But then, opening his eyes, he said obliquely, “Her mother . . . Let’s just say that her mother was the sort you expected to hear had just been busted for her fiftieth ax-murder or somethin’. Or mebbe puttin’ poison in somebody’s drink, ’specially the drink o’ somebody whose politics didn’t match her own. But that was the least of it. There was talk amongst the people whose circle Grandmother Ruth moved in that she’d been havin’ sex with Benjamin, her own son, for years, that she was the one pushed her husband, Bill, into rapin’ Benjamin, when he was a little boy, things like that. An’ the homes o’ people Ruth didn’t like had a bad habit o’ burnin’ down in the middle o’ the night, with ever’one in there trapped inside an’ burned alive. That sort o’ thing. “There was even rumors Ruth’d had a powerful influence on important elections, through her contacts an’ mebbe in her own right. She was ugly as sin, an’ yet . . .” He thought about it, trying to find the right words to explain what he meant, “Think o’ Madame Helena Blavatsky crossed with Joan Crawford, an’ you get my drift. She fascinated people, was what it was. The way witches was supposed to do. Only she could do things that no old-fashioned sorceress could. She was pure evil, evil incarnate – an’ it drew people to her the way flies are drawn to carrion.” He shuddered. “Me, I plumb hated her with ever’thin’ I had. I could see right through the old bitch, an’ I think at times it drove her crazy. But she thought I had a potential for somethin’, somethin’ she thought was great, an’ as long as she had that hope, she didn’t want any harm to come to me or to her daughter, my mom. Mom an’ Grandmother Ruth hated each other, too, an’ in the end it was Ruth who was responsible for Mom’s death – she reached right out of her grave to kill my mother, all because Mom hadn’t delivered the goods that Ruth had ordered her to,” he said, his eyes far away, his voice full of strange, complex tensions. I had an almost overwhelming desire to ask him what goods those had been, what orders Monty’s grandmother had given his mother. But I knew if I did, the fragile resolve that was enabling Monty to finally talk openly about the most secret parts of his life would be shattered to pieces, and he would never again come even close to telling anyone about what he was telling me now. So I simply held his hand and waited for him to go on. “I had at least one sister,” Monty finally said. “She’d be a year older’n me if’n she was still alive now, but she was born dead. Mom give birth to her at Walter Reed – Daddy’s service benefits allowed it then, an’ Daddy was stationed in Virginia at the time, right close to Washington, so that’s where Mom had my sister. Grandmother Ruth didn’t have no say in it because she didn’t know about it until it was all over, or, at least, that’s what Daddy told me. He once told me that he saw the baby right after she was born, an’ the poor little thing had all these terrible multiple teratologies, things like spina bifida an’ her liver outside her body an’ collapsed lungs an’ you name it, an’ there was no way she could’a survived after birth. It was a wonder she’d made it as far as birth, the doctor said, though babies can be tough little critters, even ones that’re as badly messed up as my poor sister was, an’ you just never know. Be that as it may, her medical problems was prob’ly the result o’ genetic mismatches that come down through Mom’s mother’s family – Bill, Mom’s dad, was more or less normal, at least in the physical sense, an’ so was his people, but Grandmother Ruth’s people were fucked up in a lot o’ ways, genetically an’ physically, an’ that’s prob’ly where it come from. “It’s funny,” he said. “You read about family lineages like Ruth’s in stories by H. P. Lovecraft an’ his circle an’ fans, an’ you also run across ’em in the sort o’ venues that James Michener wrote about, you know, like in his Hawaii, those old missionary an’ merchant families that got so inbred that they was lockin’ up maiden aunts in the attic so’s they wouldn’t get out an’ get pregnant an’ have a baby with even more problems than the ones they already had. That kind o’ family. Which, in fact, was often the same family, or set o’ families – Lovecraft an’ Michener was both writin’ about the same bunch o’ families, just from diff’rent viewpoints for diff’rent reasons, all those inbred missionary an’ merchant families with roots deep in New England, many o’ whom went to Hawaii to work as missionaries or for the mercantile opportunities to be found there. All that stuff about ‘Ponape’ you’ll find in Mythos stories by Lovecraft an’ others, the Deep Ones an’ all those, is just Hawaii an’ the rest o’ Polynesia seen through a glass, darkly – what?” “I’m sorry, that just hit me funny. You’ve read the New Testament, haven’t you?” I said, not bothering to hide my smile. “Yeah. That’n’s from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians,” he said, for a moment smiling himself. “I think you’d make a better Christian theologian or minister than 99% of nominal Christians. You certainly know an awful lot about that religion, especially its writings.” “Hey, whackin’ off gets real old after a while. Readin’ fills in the time like nothin’ else can, an’ I’ve been stuck in hotel rooms with nothin’ to do but read the Gideon left there in the top drawer o’ the dresser many a time, so that’s what I did. Get some takeout for dinner an’ take it back to the hotel, sit down at the desk an’ read the Bible while you eat Szechwan. There’re worse ways to while away an evenin’r two. “Anyways,” he said, the smile fading, “on her mother’s side, Mom’s family would’a fit right in with Lovecraft’s weird New England types. Sometimes I think he was writin’ documentaries, I really do. There really are – well, was, there really was towns named Innsmouth an’ Arkham an’ so on in Massachusetts an’ Delaware an’ Upper New York State. They wasn’t precisely at the places Lovecraft had ’em, but you can see why he used misdirection an’ evasion when writin’ about ’em – you do not want the people livin’ in such places gettin’ mad at you for exposin’ ’em to the world. So you either change the names, or keep the original names but put ’em in fictional locations when you write about ’em.” “Aw, come on – fish-men and all?” “Those types ain’t all that far off the mark. Those highly inbred families produced kids with all sorts of ugly-lookin’ birth defects, scaly skin like a fish, pouty mouth an’ vestigial gills along the throat like a trout out o’ water, even fins here an’ there along the back, belly, an’ arms. I’m not sayin’ that such people was actual Deep Ones, like the ones in Lovecraft’s fiction, mind you, but some o’ my cousins on Mom’s side could’a fit right in at the City Aquarium. Grandmother Ruth herself could’a been the perfect stand-in for a stonefish, venomous spines an’ all. – Hey, watch you don’t choke on that! You need help?” he asked me, alarmed, as I coughed up the bit of toast I’d almost inhaled. Laughing hard – the image Monty had conjured up was just too funny not to laugh – I said, “Your grandmother sounds like one of those creatures that lurks around on the bottom of a pond and pounces on anything tasty that comes her way.” “Yeah. Like a snakehead,” he said, grimacing. “The old bitch was just like that. Lovecraft would’a loved her – ’cept for her sexual tastes, which was just plain nauseatin’. An’ Grandpa Bill wasn’t any better – he liked watchin’ her have sex with other men an' women, an' got turned on by it. Reason I know is that Mom told me about it one time. I never saw such a look o’ despair on anyone’s face as Mom wore about then,” he said, the anger running very near the surface now, anger on behalf of a long-dead woman who had been trapped in the middle of a situation that she had had no control over, whose resultant mental problems might have ruined her marriage, and had so profoundly scarred her son, Monty. I knew, from remarks Monty had dropped in the past, that Devra, his mother, had suffered from what were euphemistically referred to as “issues” before the War. Now I was beginning to learn why. “Anyways,” Monty said, “like I said before, this wasn’t all that diff’rent from what you’ll find in Hawaii – Michener was talkin’ about families like that, too, just from a diff’rent perspective. It’s just that in Mom’s mother’s case, there was a lot more oomph behind it than was true o’ the straight-up missionary families, or even the ordinary New Englander merchant families who traded with Polynesia. There was other things, older things . . . The ordinary missionary an’ merchant families didn’t deliberately inbreed, y’see. It was just that they didn’t want to pollute their blood with less-than 100% pure outside Anglo-Saxon stock, so they married with the only people they favored, who happened to be other missionary and merchant families. Second-cousin marriages among ’em was common as backyard weeds, an’ first-cousin marriages was almost as common. An’ there was prob’ly a goodly number o’ sisters marryin’ brothers, if’n truth be told, though mostly by accident, due to some bigamous merchant who didn’t bother tellin’ one set o’ his kids about the other set, but sendin’ ’em all to the same schools, where so many kids had the same last names without havin’ the same fathers ’cause they was all cousins that nobody thought nothin’ of it until somethin’ weird come out in the wash. As for the rest, their parents was dead for some reason, an’ they’d decide to run off an’ elope ’cause nobody else knew ’em like they did, nobody else was as attractive to ’em, so they run off an’ had a civil marriage an’ settled down somewhere well away from the town where they was born an’ grew up, an’ nobody was the wiser until they started havin’ kids with two heads or that sort o’ thing. “There was stories that Grandmother Ruth’s father was also her grandfather, that a number o’ her cousins was the offspring o’ father-daughter an’ mother-son affairs, all sorts o’ things. An’ they was all stories, you know, impossible to confirm in most cases, but where there’s that much smoke there’s prob’ly more’n a little fire. An’ there was evidence that at least some o’ those stories was true in the form o’ relatives who had those weird deformities. An’ like I said about those maiden aunts who spent all their fertile years locked up in attics to keep ’em from goin’ out an’ gettin’ pregnant with even more fucked up little monsters, it wasn’t so much what people said around those little New England towns, it was what they didn’t say, an’ the things they took for granted an’ didn’t say much about, that told the tale. “From New Brunswick south to Providence, an’ as far west as Lower New York State an’ the back country o’ Massachusetts an’ Pennsylvania, you had these little towns full of extended families like that, inbred as hell an’ full o’ deformed an’ crazy an’ otherwise defective people, all because o’ those close-kin marriages an’, to be honest, the STDs that the men o’ those families picked up whilst travelin’ an’ brought back to infect their wives, daughters, nieces, an’ other family members with. Diseases like syphilis, which can literally destroy the brain in its late stages, an’ viral diseases whose identities're still unknown ’cause nobody’s thought to look for ’em. Kids growin’ up crazy ’cause of a combination o’ chronic sexual abuse by a father or brother or whoever, along with any diseases transmitted to ’em by whoever was doin’ the abuse, an’ off-kilter genotypes thanks to inbreedin’. An' psychologists an’ psychiatrists those families dragged ’em into goin’ along with it an’ helpin’ to railroad the kids into madhouses to cover up what was done to ’em. Old, old stories. “Most o’ Lovecraft’s scenarios go right back to such things, monsters, sorcery, an’ all – you have to remember that back in the 18th an’ 19th centuries, the poor an’ disenfranchised often turned to witchcraft to try to secure for themselves the things that was off-limits to ’em that they could get in no other way, includin’ freedom an’ enough power to make life good for themselves. It didn’t always work, but they didn’t have nothin’ else, an’ so they dabbled in black Magick an’ that sort o’ thing. An’ who’s more disenfranchised than some poor kid ganged up on by his or her family an’ a bunch o’ connivin’ doctors an’ psychologists an’ warehoused for years in some snake-pit to hide what was done to ’im by family members? All that carryin’ on about goin’ mad from discoverin’ this or that dreadful thing you’ll find in Lovecraft's stories comes from that, just New Englander business-as-usual with some spin put on it to turn it into a horror story. Well, it is a horror story, but mostly the same-old same-old one goin’ back as far as we got records, about the way the powerful treat the powerless an’ then sweep the evidence under the rug. Nothin’ else. “Mom was lucky. She could’a been one o’ the ones who got tucked away for years or decades either at home, in a back room in her parents’ house, or in an institution somewheres. But as beautiful as she was, Grandmother Ruth knew Mom would make a good catch for some lucky man, at least at first, afore Mom’s weird side began showin’ itself, the way it seemed to later to Daddy an’ me. Oh, yes! Grandmother Ruth had plans for Mom, or, leastways, for Mom’s genes, which is what it all come down to – she was lookin’ to use Mom to produce somethin’ like a superman, y’see, so Mom was allowed to go to college an’ all the rest of it until Ruth determined the identity o' the man she wanted Mom to marry, an’ then Mom was told to marry ’im, and had to go along with it or else. An’ that’s what happened.” Suddenly he grinned. [Continued in "Death of the Sun"]
The Two-Day War: Stars Get in Your Eyes: Aftermath 1
2:00 a.m. EDT, eastern Maine: A little south of Flagstaff Lake, at the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, north of Rangely and the easternmost of the Richardson Lakes, Bill Preis and Pete Martin, two graduate students in paleontology attending the University of Southern Maine at Portland, sat, winded, on a rock shelf, hoisting brewskis. Two days ago, they had made a bar-bet with another student that they could climb to the mountain’s summit in under a day and consume a six-pack each before coming down. They both regretted it now. It was cold up here, and they were winded and beginning to get stiff and sore – but honor and a flat of kegs were at stake! So one of them got to his feet and, using his brand-new Minolta loaded with film good for any light-level except outdoor pitch-dark, took photographs to prove that they actually made Sugarloaf’s summit. Suddenly, to the southeast, something traced a blindingly bright arc of light through the sky, clear down to the ocean. Even with several cans of beer in them apiece, they both had enough sense to turn their faces flush against the side of the mountain, covering their dazzled eyes, before they got a good deal worse than merely dazzled by the light coming from that something. They managed to cling onto their precarious perch through the quakes that followed – they had already sunk pitons into the rock so that they could rappel back down once they’d completed the ascent, and now those pitons, and the ropes around their waists tied to them, saved them from a long, hard fall off the mountain. Now the waters came, the titanic children of Poseidon, roaring up over the land, the shockwave from the impact lensed by the Bay of Fundy to the northeast and Nova Scotia to the east back toward Maine, over the coastal plain, up into the Longfellow Mountains, clear to the ridge-tops and peaks, including Sugarloaf’s summit. Once again the two men were saved by the pitons; though the gigantic wave actually passed clear over them, drenching them with seawater and draping them with odd bits of seaweed and less identifiable flotsam, coming close to drowning them, the deep-set pitons and the nylons ropes held like champions, and, a few minutes later, bruised and battered, gagging and coughing up seawater and cursing for all they were worth, the two men were once more able to breathe freely and pull themselves into more comfortable positions. “We’re gonna freeze our asses off up here, Petey-Boy,” Preis told Martin as they got settled on the rock shelf once more. “Fuck that, we still got our backpacks on. Let’s dig out the rest o’ them brewskis and hoist a few, just to celebrate,” Martin told his friend, laughing a little in sheer relief at their escape. “That’ll keep us warm!” “What about the jackets and shit we put in our packs, just in case, before we started climbing this mother?” “Fuck ’em. They’re just as wet as we are. Prob’ly more. The beer’s wet, too – but that’s the way it’s s’posed to be, ain’t it? Gonna wet m’ whistle, I am,” Martin said. He sounded drunk, but in fact he was stone cold sober, thanks to the experience he’d just been through, shock and dawning terror confusing his thought-processes and slurring his speech. Each man helped the other to get the beer out of his pack. As they sat there on the rock shelf, side by side, secured to the mountain by ropes and pitons, they stared morosely out toward the southeast, wondering if there would be more quakes, more waves. To the east and south there nothing more than stark blackness as far as the eye could see, relieved only by the molten silver footprints of moon and stars on the midnight waters below. For long moments, no sounds but their own and the hiss and slap of water against rock broke the silence. Then Preis said to Martin, “You feel funny, the way I do?” “Funny? What sort of funny?” “I, I dunno, just . . . funny. You know.” “No, I don’t know,” said Martin. He reached out a hand, placed it on his friend’s forehead. “That’s funny – how were you feeling while we were climbing up here?” “Nothing in particular, I mean, I felt fine. Except for the way you feel when you’ve been climbing a fucking mountain nearly a mile high. But I didn’t feel sick, if that’s what you mean. Why?” “You’re burning up.” “I – what?” “Your forehead’s hot as a bastard! You’re running a fever, m’ man. Hotter’n hell.” “Let me see,” Preis said, reaching up to touch his forehead. “It doesn’t feel hot to me.” “That’s ’cause you’re in, inside it, dimwit! I mean, your hand’s the same, I mean . . . fuck it. Anyway, it really is hot. So’re your cheeks,” he said, feeling Preis’s face. “Shit, Petey, I’m fine! Hell, if anything, I feel cold. And what’re you doing, feeling my cheeks, anyway, you dork pansy bastard?” Preis said, laughing crazily. “You do, hunh?” said Martin, not joining in the laughter. “That’s what you feel when you got a raging fever, ’cause you’re losing heat faster to the air or somethin’ . . . you’re hotter, so the air feels colder and you start shivering. Like you are now.” “Pete?” “What, Bro’?” “You look funny.” “What do you mean?” The moonlight was more than bright enough for them to see each other’s faces quite clearly. “Your face . . . Jesus, buddy, what’s that flap of skin peeling off the right side of your face?” Martin reached up an exploratory hand to touch the indicated area, then pulled it back as if he’d been stung. Instead of pliable skin, he’d felt an empty space rimmed by hard things – and something wet and giving just behind the latter. “Oh . . . my . . . God . . . Bill, tell me . . . what do you see on this side of my face?” he said, turning his head so that Preis could get a clear look at his face. Preis open his mouth, but for long seconds no sound emerged from it. Then, gobbling like a flustered turkey, he said, “Pete – Pete – it’s – your face is gone on that side! It’s – there’s a hole there, and I can see . . . teeth . . . and, and bone, I think that’s what it is . . .” On the edge of complete breakdown, Martin said, “Bill, could you . . . could you touch it, see what you feel?” “I . . . I . . .” Clearly forcing himself to do what his friend wanted, slowly and with great reluctance Preis reached out and gingerly touched Martin’s cheek. “Oh, Christ!” he hissed, jerking his hand back and wiping it hard on his wet jeans to get rid of contamination. “Oh, fucking Jesus, Pete, your face . . . it’s falling apart! I touched – I think I touched your tongue! And bone . . . And there’s, there’s no blood, you’re not bleeding, it’s just, God, it looks rotten! It stinks, too . . .” “S-stinks?” “Can’t you smell it? You smell like – like that skunk somebody killed and put in the frat house late last June so it wasn’t found until September because all of us were gone for summer break, remember?” “I – can’t smell it. I – I can’t smell a thing!” Martin cried, terror over this new discovery making his voice high and shrill. He reached up to touch his nose – and the tip broke off at his touch, tumbling into the abyss below. “Oh, God, my nose! My nose is falling apart!” That wasn’t all. Preis, horrified, saw that Martin’s right eye was starting to sag and run over the edge of his lower eyelid. It had a distinctly greenish tinge, and even as he looked, it was dissolving under gravity’s relentless pull, running downward, spilling over the lid, down onto Martin’s right cheek. It made him think of a very old raw egg dropped onto a hard surface, the yolk melded by the passing seconds into the white, both spreading out tiredly from the crushed shell as gravity took over. He could just imagine what shape the brain behind that eye, the sinuses behind Martin’s nose, were in. “Your hand, Bill – what’s wrong with your hand?” Martin said, his voice heavy with a strange combination of sleepiness and amazement. Apparently his left eye was still in good shape. “What hand?” Preis said, reflexively turning his gaze downward to look at the hand with which he had touched Martin’s face. He inhaled sharply, staring at his hand. “Bill, what is it?” “Pete, the skin . . . the skin’s gone from my fingers! I – I – Jesus, that’s bone sticking out from my fingertips!” His voice transmuted into a thin wail that rapidly rose in pitch and volume until he was screaming the next words: “My hand is rotting away! It’s like your – your face! What’s happening to us?” The only answer he got from Martin, other than a thick, liquid “Gug-gugl-gurg” or two, was a dumb-show informing Preis that in the last few minutes, Martin’s tongue and mouth had deteriorated so much that he could no longer talk, his tongue a soup on the floor of his mouth, the skin now completely gone from both sides of his cheeks, what was left of the muscles beneath on the left side just tatters of flesh, while those on the right gone entirely. That’s when Preis lost it completely and began screaming, screaming into the night like some poor damned soul in Hell. It took about three hours more before both of them were dead, their flesh dissolved to nothing more than dust and soup whirled away on the damp night wind. Only their rapidly deteriorating skeletons were left behind, still roped to the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain, ephemeral testimony to what had happened to them. Then those, too, were gone, reduced to powder mixed with a few small splinters of bone slightly more resistant than the rest of their flesh to the obscenely virulent microbes which, grubbed up from the floor of the Bay of Fundy and the continental shelf off the Maine coast by the titanic fingers of the asteroid impact, legacy of federal incompetence and the US Army’s top-secret bioweapons development program, had managed to render down two strapping, physically fit young men in their twenties to anonymous dust in just under four hours. Catching up these last mementos of the lives of two young men gone far before their time, the wind scattered them to the four quarters of the compass. And then only the pitons and tatters of rope and clothing remained to hint at the horror that had befallen them. When the asteroid hit the sea floor, the pressure at the point of impact was about 5 megabar, equivalent to five million times normal atmospheric pressure, and the temperature in the vicinity of the strike rose to 20,000°C. In under one-fifth of a second, the meteorite and the surrounding rocks for about a third of a mile in all directions around the impact site were compressed to less than a quarter of their original volume, and in reaction they vaporized explosively. The shockwave front, expanding in all directions from the point of impact, at first roared outward at some 16 miles per second. But as the seconds passed, it fizzled out after a few kilometers, finally allowing the battered crust of the Atlantic deeps and the continental shelf the mercy of rest and recovery from the hammering brutality of heaven’s wrath. Now, below the deepest point of the melt-zone, different zones of high pressure and temperature can be identified from the differences in the way the rocks have been deformed as the pressures and temperatures diminished in proportion to the distance of the shockwave front from the impact site. Amherst, Massachusetts: 2:00 a.m. EDT 7/16/2022. Larry Blake, a senior student of planetary science at Amherst College who planned to go for a PhD in celestial mechanics, was outside in the back yard of the rented house which he and two other students shared, trying out his brand-new, $1,500.00 SkyQuest Dobsonian telescope. It was a good night for viewing here, but he’d been plagued all day with a reasonless uneasiness which made it hard to concentrate on anything. For some reason the normal sounds of the night weren’t in evidence – no barking dogs, no cats fighting or mating in the neighborhood, even the crickets silent. For the last several nights Mother Nature had been “doing a pout trip,” as Dora, the young niece of one of his roommates, put it – the entire neighborhood gone . . . sullen, smoldering with concealed resentment or perhaps some less comprehensible, even more poisonous and volatile, emotion. But this afternoon, due to the unexpected incursion of a welcome cold front moving in from the Atlantic, the sky had cleared completely, and right now the seeing was as good as it ever was here in this light-polluted city. Even so, at any time a warm front could move in from the west and screw up the viewing, so he was determined to get as much done tonight as possible, before the lid of the meteorological pressure-cooker locked down over the city again. Muttering “Mother Nature is a bitch” under his breath, he shook himself to throw off the mood, not altogether successfully, and turned back to his ’scope. He had been focusing on the southeastern sky, checking Jupiter out, then Mars. He also wanted to get a good look at Algol, in that same general area of sky, but much farther north. Still looking to the southeast, he was fiddling with the scope, elevating it so that it could take in Algol, and was within a hair of getting his subject perfectly in focus when the whole world suddenly became bright as noon, and he saw enormous shadows extending southwest from himself and everything nearby. Slowly, apprehension growing in him, he turned to look to the northeast, fearing the mushroom cloud he was sure he would see rising there. Instead, to his amazement he saw a brilliant bar of white light shooting upward into the sky from that quarter, angled toward the northeast and rising somewhere around 40°-50° from the vertical as measured west to east. Created by molten rock from the impact of a 250-meter wide asteroid off the coast of Maine, it consisted of intermixed material from the asteroid, the ocean, the sea-bottom beneath, and the deep crust beyond in which the asteroid finally came to rest, blasting back up into the pillar of vacuum created by the asteroid’s fall to Earth. Weirdly, the Earth seemed to go even more silent than it has been for the last few nights, as if it were holding its breath, waiting to see what was to come. Larry, who had no idea what had caused this prodigy, found himself, in his growing terror, doing the same; he forced himself to breathe out, then breathe in again, a deep breath, then out again, as he had learned to do in that Yoga class he’d taken for a lark one summer. It didn’t help much – the light-show had only just begun. That hot, blinding-white bar of light began to widen and change color, becoming more and more diffuse. From its base, or at any rate what appeared of it just over the tops of the low mountains between Larry and the light-pillar, tiny specks of light began to fan out in all directions. Not even realizing he was doing so, blinking polychrome afterimages out of his dazzled eyes to clear them enough to see close at hand, tapping a stud on his watch to illuminate its face, he mentally noted the time, counting off the seconds: at this elevation, sound should travel about 335 meters per second, or roughly 21 kilometers per minute, and whatever produced that thing in the sky should announce itself soon with the rumbling roar of a vast explosion. The seconds and then the minutes rolled by – and then the Earth begins to buck like a maddened bronco. Only a fall into a thick stand of low shrubs kept Larry from being battered to death by the earthquake now shaking all of Amherst and everything around it into corduroy, shaking it and shaking it until Larry was convinced his clenched teeth were going to break, his eardrums and internal organs rupture from the terrible hammering of the quake. – And then it was over. Hardly daring to believe he was still alive, slowly, carefully, aching in every joint, Larry pulled himself out of the battered, torn shrubbery that had just saved his life. As he did so he notes dazedly that one of the branches on which he had fallen had broken off, the sharp end puncturing his thigh, going deep into the muscle, grazing the bone, somehow missing every major blood vessel in his thigh in the process. He pulled it out, still not feeling the pain of his wound because of the tsunami of adrenaline that has just flooded his system. Dark blood trickled sluggishly down his leg from the wound, heavily staining his blue jeans; because the wound wasn’t life-threatening, he tuned it out of his awareness, forcing himself to concentrate on more pressing matters. His legs trembling so violently he was able to regain his feet only by using the shrubs and a nearby tree to support himself, Larry looked around, trying to take in the strange new landscape that had replaced the old familiar one. Reaching into his shirt, wholly unaware he is doing so, he began telling his Rosary, over and over, by sheer reflex and nearly two decades of practice. For, rather than the familiar tree-lined streets of Amherst, spotted by pools of mercury-arc streetlights, structured by fences, hedges, business offices and condominium apartment buildings and houses large and small, the city he had come to love looked the way Dresden must have the day after the Allies’ white-phosphorus carpet-bombing turned it into an inferno in WW 2: everywhere he looked were mounds of jumbled, smoking rubble which, minutes before, had been homes and businesses, trees down everywhere, here and there the glow of flames as hot-points began to do their dirty work. As he stared, horrified, at the desolation all around him, here and there he could hear a gradually growing pandemonium of cries and screams, people begging for help, the wailing of cats and howling of dogs. A siren went off nearby – then died out. Two or three more sirens went off – and likewise died away to silence. The quake had ground Amherst to pieces, and some of those pieces were the emergency personnel, fire and police and paramedics, their vehicles smashed to pieces by the quake. Absently he thought that it must have been at least a 9.0 quake, worse than anything in Massachusetts history or, indeed, that of the East Coast, as far back as anyone knew, even the US Geological Survey people and paleontologists whose job it was to match the geology of the region with major events of this sort. And then he heard it: distant thunder coming from the northeast, a low bass rumble growing louder and louder. The sky went black in that direction, the stars there blotted out – smoke? Meteors begin to streak overhead, buzzing like the demons of the Vestibule of the Inferno, the biting flies that forever torment those who chose neither good nor evil, only the line of least resistance. Bzzz . . . shree . . . bzz . . . hissss . . . shree . . . More and more followed, close on the heels of those that had gone before them, screaming like banshees as they passed overhead, touching down to the south and west like spent artillery shells, the roar of explosions marking their impacts. More and more and more shooting stars crossed the sky until they seemed to fill it completely in one blazing panorama of white fire; Larry realized with a sudden shock that the discredited astronomers Clube and Napier were right, our ancestors didn’t fear comets because they were superstitious, but instead because of hard, horrifying experience – the damned things were dangerous as hell! Fireballs fell and fell and fell from the terrified, shrieking sky, more and more fireballs streaking overhead, raining down on the appalled Earth like the flakes of fire that Dante described descending upon the sinners in the lowermost round of the Seventh Circle of the Inferno, the Violent Against Nature and Art, most missing Amherst but a few nevertheless falling short, falling on the city one after another, adding catastrophically to the destruction there, fires starting up where some of them fall. The sky overhead had now become a brilliant yellow, as bright as the northeast was dark, illuminated not by one but a myriad daystars, albeit temporary ones – it wasn’t many more minutes until the shower of fire began to abate, fewer and fewer meteors streaking overhead, until finally the spectacular light-show came to a halt. Larry cursed the quake – it had shattered his wonderful boy-toy, the SkyQuest, and he hadn’t had even one opportunity to get a close look at any of the meteors. But at least, he thought, sighing, he was still alive – quite a feat, all things considered, given the battering the area had just taken from the quake and the meteorites. He looked up again at the northeast – and suddenly realized, appalled, that the darkness advancing on Amherst from that direction wasn’t smoke, after all. Bright flecks gleamed here and there on that wall of blackness, silvery reflections from the fat gibbous moon hanging high in the southern sky, red reflections from a myriad fires between him and whatever it is. Smoke has an albedo as low as you can get, so what – Oh, JesusMaryJosephGodSaveUs, it’s water! the mental shriek rose in him as that star-blazed ebon wall came on and on toward the city, toward him, roaring like lions of Apocalypse, a black mountain of water that had to be kilometers high, easily overtopping the mountains there in the northeast, smashing everything ahead of it to splinters and rock-dust, rebar and I-beams twisted like pretzels under its giant fist: Boston, Nashua, Fitchburg, Leominster – and, doubtless, Portsmouth and even, perhaps, Portland, as well, all smashed to pieces by the great Hammer of God. Whatever it was had to have hit somewhere off the coast of Maine, he thought dizzily, leaning against what was left of the storage shed in which he and his roommates kept the lawnmower, car-tools, and similar tools best stored outside, near the places where they’d be used, staring at that advancing black wall – Moments later, the point was moot. Or not even moot. The water washed it all away, Larry and Amherst and everyone else in the area, included. [Continued in "The Two-Day War: Stars Get in Your Eyes: Aftermath 2"]
The investigation found no one's odds of winning was affected by high-volume betting. When the jackpot hit the rolldown threshold, Cash Winfall became a good bet for everyone, not just the big stepped up enforcement with the intent of shutting down the high-volume bettors. That marked an about-face for the Lottery, which for years had benefited from high-volume betting on Cash WinFall. This review will explain in detail below how the high-volume betting was conducted and how the Lottery profited from it. Massachusetts lawmakers officially introduced a bill that would legalize online and in-person sports betting in the state. Darren Rovell caught up with two legal experts -- Daniel Wallach and Jake Williams -- to see when they expect online and physical sports betting to be legal in each of the 50 states. Companies have until July 1 to change their practices in Massachusetts. DraftKings, based in Boston, and its main competitor, FanDuel Inc. of New York, have said they will comply. In this June 27, 2019 photo, a gambler places a bet at the sportsbook at Bally's Casino in Atlantic[+] City, N.J. New Jersey surpassed Nevada in terms of sports betting volume in May 2019
A high volume sportsbook best suited for the sophisticated player who understands sports betting as well large recreational players who wager over 100 USD per game For an in-depth review of ... Betting Pod REPLAY - Ep: 56 - Pricing, Odds and Pinnacle Model. **Announcement** - New Podcast Betting Book Club Follow: @BettingPodBooks 2) We run up and as we reach a high we get a spike in volume. 3) We are in a trend, pullback and then we get another push. 4) Range bound condition with a spike in the middle of nowhere. Ep: 25 - Harry Findlay Harry needs no introduction. He is a superstar punter who has an illustrious gambling career. Harry discusses many things including his involvement with Star Lizard and ...