english skies

"Generous deed should not be checked by cold counsel." (Tolkien's Return of the King)

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Location: United States

31 March 2006


There, eastward, within a stone's throw, stood the twin towers of All Souls, fantastic, unreal as a house of cards, clear-cut in the sunshine, the drenched oval in the quad beneath brilliant as an emerald in the bezel of a ring.Behind them, black and grey, New College frowning like a fortress, with dark wings wheeling about her belfry louvres; and Queen's with her dome of green copper; and, as the eye turned southward, Magdalen, yellow and slender, the tall lily of towers; the Schools and the battlemented front of University; Merton, square-pinnacled, half-hidden behind the shadowed North side and mounting spire of St. Mary's.Westward again, Christ Church, vast between Cathedral spire and Tom Tower; Brasenose close at hand; St. Aldate's and Carfax beyond; spire and tower and quadrangle, all Oxford springing underfoot in living leaf and enduring stone, ringed far off by her bulwark of blue hills. ~Gaudy Night
Photos © M. Datiles 2005-2010.

13 March 2006

Peter and Percy

Peter Wimsey and Percy Blakeney. Their names share the same cadence, why can't their stories share the same theme? Just a few thoughts on their similarities. While Wimsey is known as Lord Peter of "cricket and criminology" fame in the 1920s, Percy is known to his intimates as The Scarlet Pimpernel, who quietly and bravely rescues French aristos from the guillotine in the 1790s. 150 years apart, but exceeding close in spirit.

Aristocrats, more than usually clever. Daring and decisive. Can play multiple roles without a qualm. Well-bred, well-educated. Both have traveled the Continent. Lady once chosen, faithful to the point of their own personal suffering and having to excercise tremendous self-control to win her (win her after five patient years of waiting in Peter's case, win her back after the cooling of the marriage in Percy's case). Naturally cheerful disposition. Lion-hearted, each according to the demands of his own historical period (Percy, the French Revolution, Peter, the crimes of English society in the years between the wars, i.e. "the Long Weekend"). And the list goes on, not to mention both are fair-haired and physically fit for spur-of-the-moment crises.

Photo © 2006 M. Datiles