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Jackie has come to an agreement with Jessica at rusty duck to attempt to preserve this year’s echinaceas by cutting them down whilst in bloom. Our Head Gardener dealt with hers this afternoon. Not wishing to waste the flowers she placed them in a vase.
This afternoon, Danni and her friend, Heather, popped in for a visit, and we all enjoyed a conversation with tea and water on the patio.
Later, I finished reading ‘At The Sign of The Reine Pédauque by Anatole France. My Bodley Head edition, translated by Mrs Wilfrid Jackson, illustrated by Frank C. Papé, and with an insightful introduction by William J Locke.
This historical novel, set at the beginning of the 18th century, has all the humanity and humour that one expects from the Nobel Prizewinner who published it in 1893. Without divulging any of the story, I can say that it tells of a young man’s education in book learning and in life from a man of God very much a man of the World with very human desires; contrasting with this teacher is a philosophising alchemist; there are intrigues and disappointments with women, and a certain amount of wine drinking. The prose flows with simple elegance; the descriptions are often poetic; the characterisation is excellent. The tale is well crafted and completed to perfection. I found I needed to tolerate the early pages with their references to ancient and classical authors. The translator added explanatory footnotes for those of a more classical bent. After that the story romped along.
The illustrator’s skilled, elegant, humorous, decorations would enhance any book. As always, these repay close scrutiny.
Regular readers will know that I have been struggling with my teenage scanner lately. It has done me proud for a dozen or so years. The replacement is an updated versions of the same model, and made much easier my task of scanning
the gilded front board which would support my assessment that ‘Pédauque’ is an old French word for with goose feet; the end papers; the main plates;
and a sample of the tail pieces and other vignettes. The text on these latter images gives a flavour of the translated prose.
This evening the three of dined at The Royal Oak. Elizabeth enjoyed her roast chicken; Jackie, her macaroni cheese, and I, my battered haddock, chips and peas. Elizabeth’s dessert was chocolate and grand marnier torte; Jackie’s, cheesecake; and mine, Eton mess. Elizabeth and I shared a good bottle of Chilean Merlot 2017. Jackie drank Amstell. Service wS FRIENDLY and efficient; food excellent.