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stichomancy

scylla is on the italian side, and therefore may be said to look west. it is about 8 miles thence to the sicilian coast, so ulysses may be perfectly well told that after passing scylla he will come to the thrinacian island or sicily. charybdis is transposed to a site some few miles to the north of its actual position.

{102} for the reasons which enable us to identify the island of the two sirens with the lipari island now salinas--the ancient didyme, or "twin" island--see the authoress of the odyssey


once more mcteague felt the mysterious intuition of approaching danger; an unseen hand seemed reining his head eastward; a spur was in his flanks that seemed to urge him to hurry, hurry, hurry. the influence grew stronger with every moment. the dentist set his great jaws together and held his ground.

"no," he growled between his set teeth. "no, i'll stay." he made a long circuit around the camp, even going as far as the first stake of the new claim, his winchester cocked, his ears pricked, his eyes alert.

stichomancy

by this time, the doctor and vendramin, capraja, cataneo, and genovese had made their way to the piazzetta. it was midnight. the glittering bay, outlined by the churches of san giorgio and san paulo at the end of the giudecca, and the beginning of the grand canal, by this time, the doctor and vendramin, capraja, cataneo, and genovese had made their way to the piazzetta. it was midnight. the glittering bay, outlined by the churches of san giorgio and san paulo at the end of the giudecca, and the beginning of the grand canal that opens so mysteriously under the dogana and the church of santa maria della salute, lay glorious and still. the moon shone on the barques along the riva de’ schiavoni. the waters of venice, where there is no tide, looked as if they were alive, dancing with a myriad spangles. never had a singer a more splendid stage.

genovese, with an emphatic flourish, seemed to call heaven and earth to witness; and then, with no accompaniment but the lapping waves, he sang ombra adorata, crescentini’s great air. the song, rising up between the statues of san teodoro and san giorgio, in the heart of sleeping venice lighted by the moon, the words, in such strange harmony with the scene, and the melancholy passion of the singer, held the italians and the frenchman spellbound.

at the very first notes, vendramin’s face was wet with tears. capraja stood as motionless as one of the statues in the ducal palace. cataneo seemed moved to some feeling. the frenchman, taken by surprise, was meditative, like a man of science in the presence of a phenomenon that upsets all his fundamental axioms. these four minds, all so different, whose hopes were so small, who believed in nothing for themselves or after themselves, who regarded their own existence as that of a transient and a fortuitous being,—like the little life of a plant or a beetle,—had a glimpse of heaven. never did music more truly merit the epithet divine. the consoling notes, as they were poured out, enveloped their souls in soft and soothing airs. on these vapors, almost visible, as it seemed to the listeners, like the marble shapes about them in the silver moonlight, angels sat whose wings, devoutly waving, expressed adoration and love. the simple, artless melody penetrated to the soul as with a beam of light. it was a holy passion!

but the singer’s vanity roused them from their emotion with a terrible shock.

“now, am i a bad singer?” he exclaimed, as he ended.

his audience only regretted that the instrument was not a thing of heaven. this angelic song was then no more than the outcome of a man’s offended vanity! the singer felt nothing, thought nothing, of the pious sentiments and divine images he could create in others, —-no more, in fact, than paganini’s violin knows what the player makes it utter. what they had seen in fancy was venice lifting its shroud and singing—and it was merely the result of a tenor’s fiasco!

“can you guess the meaning of such a phenomenon?” the frenchman asked of capraja, wishing to make him talk, as the duchess had spoken of him as a profound thinker.

“what phenomenon?” said capraja.

“genovese—who is admirable in the absence of la tinti, and when he sings with her is a braying ass.”

“he obeys an occult law of which one of your chemists might perhaps give you the mathematical formula, and which the next century will no doubt express in a statement full of x, a, and b, mixed up with little algebraic signs, bars, and quirks that give me the colic; for the finest conceptions of mathematics do not add much to the sum total of our enjoyment.

“when an artist is so unfortunate as to be full of the passion he wishes to express, he cannot depict it because he is the thing itself instead of its image. art is the work of the brain, not of the heart. when you are possessed by a subject you are a slave, not a master; you are like a king besieged by his people. too keen a feeling, at the moment when you want to represent that feeling, causes an insurrection of the senses against the governing faculty.”

personally,

as someone who voted for clinton in pennsylvania, and as someone who was forced, for the first time ever, to use a computer software based voting mechanism rather than a paper ballot, an article about the hacking on cnn etc. showing the disparities in statistical variance in paper ballot areas vs software areas is exactly the type of article i expected and feared i would see after the fact. where is the record of my vote and how i voted?





(the disappearing difference between verifiable and true)

stichomancy

i flattered myself i had partly shown them the evil of this pastime, and hoped, in time, to bring them to some general sense of justice and humanity; but ten minutes' birds'-nesting with uncle robson, or even a laugh from him at some relation of their former barbarities, was sufficient at once to destroy the effect of my whole elaborate course of reasoning and persuasion.

stichomancy

SALISBURY. it is great sin to swear unto a sin, but greater sin to keep a sinful oath. who can be bound by any solemn vow to do a murtherous deed, to rob a man, to force a spotless virgin's chastity, to reave the orphan of his patrimony, to wring the widow from her custom'd right, and have no other reason for this wrong but that he was bound by a solemn oath?

stichomancy

those most familiar with evil seem among those best able to describe it:

'if you're not obedient to my whims i'll choke you until you are!' that was precisely what he meant. that he was capable of any depth of degradation, and that he meant to drag her with him, there could be no longer the shadow of a doubt.

she could not endure another scene like that. she sprang to her feet again, shivering with terror. she could hear the hum of the conversation in the next room. he was persuading his mother to join in his criminal career. he was busy with his oily tongue transforming the simple, ignorant, lonely old woman into an avaricious fiend who would receive his blood-stained booty and rejoice in it. he was laughing again. she put her trembling hands over her ears to shut out the sound. he had laughed at her shame and cowardice. it made her flesh creep to hear it.

she would escape. the mountain road was dark and narrow and crooked. she would lose her way in the night, perhaps. no matter. she could keep warm by walking. at dawn she would find her way to a cabin and ask protection. if she could reach asheville, a telegram would bring her father. she wouldn't lose a minute. her hat and coat were in the living-room. she would go bareheaded and without a coat. in the morning she could borrow one from the woman at the mount mitchell house.

she crept cautiously along the walls of the room searching for a door or window. there must be a way out. she made the round without discovering an opening of any kind. there must be a window of some kind high up for ventilation. there was no glass in it, of course. it was closed by a board shutter--if she could reach it. she began at the door, found the corner of the room and stretched her arms upward until they touched the low, rough joist. over every foot of its surface she ran her fingers, carefully feeling for a window. there was none!

she found an open crack and peered through. the stars were shining cold and clear in the december sky. the twinkling heavens reminded her that it was christmas eve. the dawn she hoped to see in the woods, if she could escape, would be christmas morning. there was no time for idle tears of self-pity.

the one thought that beat in every throb of her heart now was to escape from her cell and put a thousand miles between her body and the beast who had strangled her. she might break through the roof!

as a rule the shed-rooms of these rude mountain cabins were covered with split boards lightly nailed to narrow strips eighteen inches apart. if there were no ceiling, or if the ceiling were not nailed down and she should move carefully, she might break through near the eaves and drop to the ground. the cabin was not more than nine feet in height. she raised herself on the footrail of the bed and felt the ceiling. there could be no mistake. it was there. she pressed gently at first and then with all her might against each board. they were nailed hard and fast.

she sank to the bed again in despair. she had barred herself in a prison cell. there was no escape except by the door through which the beast had driven her. and he would probably draw the couch against it and sleep there. and then came the crushing conviction that such flight would be of no avail in a struggle with a man of donald's character. his laughing words of triumph rang through her soul now in all their full, sinister meaning.

"the world ain't big enough for you to get away from me, kiddo!"

it wasn't big enough. she knew it with tragic and terrible certainty.

he would follow her to the ends of the earth and kill any living thing that stood in his way. and when he found her at last he would kill her.

how could she have been so blind! there was no longer any mystery about his personality. the slender hands and feet were merely the hands and feet of a thief. the strength of jaw and neck and shoulders had made him the most daring of all thieves--a burglar.

his strange moods were no longer strange. he laughed for joy at the wild mountain gorges and crags because he saw safety for the hiding-place of priceless jewels he meant to steal.

there could be no escape in divorce from such a brute. he was happy in her cowardly submission. he would laugh at the idea of divorce. should she dare to betray the secrets of his life of crime, he would kill her as he would grind a snake under his heel.

a single clause from the marriage ceremony kept ringing its knell--

"until death do us part!"

she knelt at last and prayed for death.

"oh, dear god, let me die, let me die!"

suicide was a crime unthinkable to her pious mind. only god now could save her in his infinite mercy.

term of art

chromosome periphery



(up to 47% of everything that matters)


link to the past

the dead horse brigade

is bound to put up a fuss, but.
i was just reminded, witnessing it, that ten minutes of watching my cats stalk around, occasionally leaping and swooping, in an effort to bat down a house fly is entertaining and joy-inspiring and in every way the polar opposite of any ten minutes spent watching walter white and jesse pinkman do the same.

cf. all prior commentary regarding the flaws of episodic television as a structure and trying harder to meet artificial constraints than create a story the audience wants to see.

speaking of universes and rewatches

we finished, on saturday night, the penultimate (!) but not truly penultimate season of the x-files. the season in which the creators decided to shift the x-files' alien nation universe into a sideways terminator universe in order to extend the mythology arc which serves as the vessel for the of-the-week stories. season eight. i had occasionally stumbled upon reruns during the middle to late 2000s and rewatched some of the first season at the end of the initial run when the show became increasingly self-referential, but this past year (!) has been the only time i've really ever rewatched it. and for c., much of the series has been entirely new to her. a year! and more. the only way i could really remember for certain that it's been a year is by remembering myself making sure we watched the season 6 episode with the christmas ghosts during the christmas season last year even though we were probably still on season 4 or 5 at the time. true, we did detour into 3 seasons of millennium (with little enjoyment to be had from it), and we took our time with that because it was so joyless, but i'm still astounded that it has taken us so long to get here. and here isn't even ready to watch the 2016 episodes. (not that there is any urgency now since any future episodes aren't likely until fall of 2017 at the earliest.) or i'm astounded that so many other people i know seem to have the time to stay current on so many shows as well as spend time visiting with older shows. all of this goes into all of things i've been mulling about episodic television (not to say that i'm alone in this), about how the feeling one has that one wishes one's favorite show will never end runs up against the reality that it should and even when favorite shows pretend not to end they really have for all intents and purposes. it's a relief to know that there's another episode of cheers to watch when the mood strikes but there comes a point when a brand new episode may as well be a rerun when all the jokes and plotlines are increasingly minor variations on wellworn themes. and the rerunniness of the later season x-files along with the frequent absence of mulder makes it a slog as well. but i am a completist and i don't want to miss out on the moments of excellence strewn throughout, such as those that were so plentiful in the eighth season finale. /end ramble.

term of art

flocculent spirals

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