Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scotch hopper

Having established the existence
of this figure last year on this
recall elements of our play, so
often - as befitted our sharing
of an academic class and the in-
terests it cultivated - conduct-
ed in the surrogacy of words.

A figure of volatile spirit and
irresistible radiance, he manif-
ested the deepest obliviousness
to clothes; and became infamous
for navigating among us in the
broodingestly inapposite shade
of outer coat, which I dubbed
his coat of storms. The laugh
with which he accepted this
tease, the first time he heard
it, led all of us to doubt its
irony; but it was the lever,
the laugh was, that let us see
him better. And this was not
the case with most of us. His
was our acquaintance with that
kind of laughter.

We did play, and gratefully
with words. We would eat fid-
dleferns at the Four Seasons
together, for their coiled wit,
and oysters, too, as everyone
does. On my marriage, his gift 
to me was the entire Oxford 
English Dictionary, pieces
we'd known and hadn't known,
to be there when I need them.

scotch hoppers. A play in
which boys hop over lines
or scotches on the ground.

Samuel Johnson
Dictionary of the
  English Language
op. cit.