Thursday, April 10, 2014

Functions of style iii: the cultivation of unity

Hunting and divinity, how well
they sort together in my mind!
I must own to a weakness for
sporting parsons, for those un-
apostolic characters I read of
in Nimrod and elsewhere; for
parson Jack Russell.. for the
clergyman who [advertised] -
"Wanted, a curacy in a good
sporting country, where the
duties are light and the com-
pany convivial" ..

There can be no doubt, that
a journal affords the vital-
ity of the personality a can-
vas on which to conduct its
pursuit of form. It has some-
thing in common with the in-
tegrity of dreams, yet it is
a field for expository, ex-
ploratory energy we admire.

And of course it is not un-
delightful to observe the
familiar, emerging brighter.
Like our modern-day artisans
of the selfie, perhaps, the
journal-keeping seeker of u-
nity will be reminded of the
divine, ere long, and ponder
his rapport with it. They say
one can never be too ready.

 As to that, Biffy Holland-
 Hibbert told me that he once
 got into trouble for jumping
 into a churchyard, when the
 Bicester were in full cry;
 they said it was outrageous
 to the dead; which I thought
 inconceivable until I was my-
 self shoo'd out of the Oxford
 crematorium by a scandalised
 custodian in course of a gay
 hunt from Woodeaton Spinney
 with the South Oxon. Fantastic
 indignation! I thought to my-
 self as his cri de coeur died
 away behind me; and as I rode
 home from the Wick I tried to
 rationalise his extraordinary

Why, when I am dead, the very 
thought of a fox-chase in full 
cry streaming over my maggotry 
remainder will be as refreshing
dew to my poor wilting spirit,
as it fiddles away in some in-
conspicuous corner of the celes-
tial orchestra. But it was no
good; the mind of that odd jan-
itor of the dead evidently work-
ed on different principles from

Hugh Trevor-Roper
Major, HM Secret Intelligence Service
December, 1943

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