Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Origins of Wednesday xlix: What are we reading?

An enviable weekend estate,
sited with long experience
of the limits of the tides,
open to the breezes and yet
the comfy sort of bunker we
might expect Ratty or Moley
to improvise, given a suit-
ably provisioned hamper. He
is a contemporary of mine,
enjoying swimming off an is-
land in Germany, a pleasure
I've shared elsewhere at his
latitude. Accosting one an-
other, inevitably our conver-
sation shifts from remarking
on the light, to what he is
reading by the lantern, ex-
hibited lower left, upright. 

We never erect such a blithe-
ly spare redoubt, without a
volume to explore in those
settings. I wouldn't mention
it, but I'm off for a while
by the Elizabeth River as it
flows into the Atlantic, off 
Virginia, of busy days and i-
solated nights, and I've hit
upon a kind of instinctive in-
clination to nestle into the
grit and wit of Dashiell Ham-
mett after many years, in The
Thin Man before W.S. van Dyke

But I know the story, and can 
defy how it's told. Its shel-
ter sequesters one well for a
luxuriance in closeness with a
riotous imagination, a quality
undying, inherent delight, in
support of innocuously raucous 
habitation of mind; by Sterne,
Kenneth Grahame, Dash Hammett -
play has found its tent, and

An island

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