Sunday, December 14, 2014

Do some years not yield? The book of the year

  Chiefswood is wonderfully beau-
  tiful. Everything, this year, 
  is a month late, so I see it as 
  it normally is at the end of May. 

No garden flowers are out: their time is not yet; but everything is green, and the green is broken, unexpectedly, here and there, by great red and white rhododend-ron flowers, still in bloom, which appear through cracks of space across the sparkling water of the stream. I thought that I would take out the [tractor] yester-day, but when I saw the long grass full of corn-flowers, I had not the heart to cut them, and deferred my action. I am enjoying being here, though alone and feeding on cold ham, kippers and spring onions.

                I am tired of endless committees. 
                Why should I wear out my life sit-
                ting on them, et propter vitam vi- 
                vendi perdere causas? So I wander
                in these delightful glades, and 
                pause to read literature, not agen- 
                da or minutes, and to write to you. 

                We long to see you back. 

An excerpt from what I saw
in the book of the year, a
carrying forward in radiant 
form. I celebrate merely to 
open it.

To Trevor-Roper, Chiefswood
had much in common with Hor-
ace's Tivoli, a retreat for
restoration, from the zenith
of imperial pomp. He writes
to his step-son in America,
regretting his refusal of a
large capital transfer from
his mother, the daughter of
the Earl Field Marshal Haig.
His subjects are the young
man; the distinctions between
practices in pluralism, toler-
ance, faith, and manners in
England and America; and as
we see, the consolations of
onions and the legitimacy of

55 - 138
 Book 8
   "and for the sake of
   living, lose what makes
   life worth living"

Willem de Kooning
1904 - 1997

André Kertész

Hugh Trevor-Roper
1914 - 2003
100 Letters from Hugh
28 June 1969
Richard Davenport-Hines
  and Adam Sisman, editors
Oxford University Press, 2014©


  1. De-Kooning, Kippers, and spring onions...De-licious!

    1. The collation of effects, often merely of the senses but just as often of remembered facts, is wonderfully characteristic not only of his learning, but of his style. "... the ability to find matters of interest even in relatively obscure byways is typical of his work," wrote my college preceptor in 16th Century European history, as the jacket blurb for Yale's publication of his essays, "History and the Enlightenment." The pleasure of dialogue with him in the Letters is analogous only to the sharing of a Premier Grand Cru - sometimes too young to have knit together, sometimes luminously matured, but always still intriguing and engaging as a point of view on time and place.