Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont.

Duke of D. (with visible hesitation): “Round at the back of the house. Towards the bowling-green.”
A bowling green is a finely-laid, close-mown and rolled stretch of lawn for playing the game of lawn bowls. The world's oldest surviving bowling green is the Southampton Old Bowling Green, which was first used in 1299. Bowls (also lawn bowls, variants include flat-green bowls and crown-green bowls ) is a sport in which the objective is to roll slightly asymmetric balls so that they stop close to a smaller "jack" or "kitty". It is played on a pitch which may be flat (for "flat-green bowls") or convex (for "crown-green bowls"). It is normally played outdoors.

The Coroner: “The bowling-green?”
Duke of D. (more confidently): “Yes.”
The Coroner: “But if you were more than a quarter of a mile away, you must have left the grounds?”
Duke of D.: “I—oh yes—I think I did. Yes, I walked about on the moor a bit, you know.”
The Coroner: “Can you show us the letter you had from Mr. Freeborn?”
Duke of D.: “Oh, certainly—if I can find it. I thought I put it in my pocket, but I couldn't find it for that Scotland Yard fellow.”
Scotland Yard is often used as a metonym for the Metropolitan Police Service of London, UK. It derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became the public entrance to the police station. Over time, the street and the Metropolitan Police became synonymous. The New York Times wrote in 1964 that, just as Wall Street gave its name to the New York financial world, Scotland Yard did the same for police activity in London. Although the Metropolitan Police moved away from Scotland Yard in 1890, the name New Scotland Yard was adopted for the new headquarters.

The Coroner: “Can you have accidentally destroyed it?”
Duke of D.: “No—I'm sure I remember putting it——Oh”—here the witness paused in very patent confusion, and grew red—“I remember now. I destroyed it.”
The Coroner: “That is unfortunate. How was that?”
Duke of D.: “I had forgotten; it has come back to me now. I'm afraid it has gone for good.”
The Coroner: “Perhaps you kept the envelope?”
Witness shook his head.
The Coroner: “Then you can show the jury no proof of having received it?”
Duke of D.: “Not unless Fleming remembers it.”
The Coroner: “Ah yes! No doubt we can check it that way. Thank you, your grace. Call Lady Mary Wimsey.”
The noble lady, who was, until the tragic morning of October 14th, the fiancée of the deceased, aroused a murmur of sympathy on her appearance. Fair and slender, her naturally rose-pink cheeks ashy pale, she seemed overwhelmed with grief. She was dressed entirely in black, and gave her evidence in a very low tone which was at times almost inaudible.
The custom of wearing unadorned black clothing for mourning dates back at least to the Roman Empire, when the toga pulla, made of dark-colored wool, was worn during periods of mourning.
By the 19th century, mourning behaviour in England had developed into a complex set of rules, particularly among the upper classes. Women bore the greatest burden of these customs. They involved wearing heavy, concealing, black clothing, and the use of heavy veils of black crêpe. The entire ensemble was colloquially known as "widow's weeds" (from the Old English "Waed" meaning "garment").

Special caps and bonnets, usually in black or other dark colours, went with these ensembles. There was special mourning jewelry, often made of jet and with the hair of the deceased in a locket or brooch. The wealthy could also wear cameos or lockets designed to hold a lock of the deceased's hair or some similar relic.

Poor orphans depicted wearing a makeshift black armband to mourn for their mother (Work by F.M. Brown), 1865Widows were expected to wear special clothes to indicate that they were in mourning for up to four years after the death, although there were many occasions where this attire was worn for the rest of the widow's life. To change the costume earlier was considered disrespectful to the decedent and, if the widow were still young and attractive, suggestive of potential sexual promiscuity. Those subject to the rules were slowly allowed to re-introduce conventional clothing at specific time periods; such stages were known by such terms as "full mourning", "half mourning", and similar descriptions. At half mourning, gray and lavender could be introduced

The five daughters of Albert, Prince Consort wore black dresses and posed for a portrait with his statue following his death in 1861.
Queen Victoria with the five surviving children of her daughter, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, dressed in mourning clothing for their mother and sister in early 1879.Friends, acquaintances, and employees wore mourning to a greater or lesser degree depending on their relationship with the deceased. In general, servants wore black armbands when there had been a death in the household.

Mourning was worn for six months for a sibling. Parents would wear mourning for a child for "as long as they feel so disposed". A widow was supposed to wear mourning for two years and was not supposed to enter society for twelve months. No lady or gentleman in mourning was supposed to attend balls. Amongst polite company, the wearing of simply a black arm band was seen as appropriate only for military men (or others compelled to wear uniform in the course of their duties). Wearing a black arm band instead of proper mourning clothes was seen as a degradation of proper etiquette and to be avoided.[2] Men were expected to wear mourning suits (not to be confused with morning suits) of black frock coats with matching trousers and waistcoats. Later, in the inter-war period, as the frock coat became increasingly rare, the mourning suit consisted of a black morning coat with black trousers and waistcoat, essentially a black version of the morning suit worn to weddings and other occasions, which would normally include coloured waistcoats and striped or checked trousers.

Formal mourning culminated during the reign of Queen Victoria. Victoria may have had much to do with the practice, owing to her long and conspicuous grief over the death of her husband, Prince Albert. Although fashions began to be more functional and less restrictive for the succeeding Edwardians, appropriate dress for men and women, including that for the period of mourning, was still strictly prescribed and rigidly adhered to.

After expressing his sympathy, the Coroner asked, “How long had you been engaged to the deceased?”
Witness: “About eight months.”
The Coroner: “Where did you first meet him?”
Witness: “At my sister-in-law's house in London.”
The Coroner: “When was that?”
Witness: “I think it was June last year.”
`The Coroner: “You were quite happy in your engagement?”
Witness: “Quite.”
The Coroner: “You naturally saw a good deal of Captain Cathcart. Did he tell you much about his previous life?”
Witness: “Not very much. We were not given to mutual confidences. We usually discussed subjects of common interest.”
The Coroner: “You had many such subjects?”
Witness: “Oh yes.”
The Coroner: “You never gathered at any time that Captain Cathcart had anything on his mind?”
Witness: “Not particularly. He had seemed a little anxious the last few days.”
The Coroner: “Did he speak of his life in Paris?”
Witness: “He spoke of theatres and amusements there. He knew Paris very well. I was staying in Paris with some friends last February, when he was there, and he took us about. That was shortly after our engagement.”
The Coroner: “Did he ever speak of playing cards in Paris?”
Witness: “I don't remember.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clouds of Witness continued

Duke of D.: “I ran into my bedroom, which has a window over the conservatory, and shouted out to him not to be a silly fool.
A conservatory is a greenhouse, usually attached to a dwelling, for growing and displaying plants.

It was pourin' with rain and beastly cold. He didn't come back, so I told Fleming to leave the conservatory door open—in case he thought better of it—and went to bed.”

The Coroner: “What explanation can you suggest for Cathcart's behaviour?”

Duke of D.: “None, I was simply staggered. But I think he must somehow have got wind of the letter, and knew the game was up.”
“Knew the game was up” has been in use for over 400 years. Shakespeare coined it:
From Shakespeare's Cymbeline, 1611:

Euriphile, Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother,
And every day do honour to her grave:
Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call'd,
They take for natural father. The game is up.

The Coroner: “Did you mention the matter to anybody else?”

Duke of D.: “No. It wasn't pleasant, and I thought I'd better leave it till the morning.”

The Coroner: “So you did nothing further in the matter?”

Duke of D.: “No. I didn't want to go out huntin' for the fellow. I was too angry. Besides, I thought he'd change his mind before long—it was a brute of a night and he'd only a dinner-jacket.”
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually-black jacket, known as a dinner jacket (in the Commonwealth) or tuxedo (mainly in the United States). Women's dress for black tie occasions can vary to a much greater extent, ranging from a cocktail dress that is at or below the knee to a long gown, determined by current fashion, local custom, and the occasion's time.

The Coroner: “Then you just went quietly to bed and never saw deceased again?”

Duke of D.: “Not till I fell over him outside the conservatory at three in the morning.”

The Coroner: “Ah yes. Now can you tell us how you came to be out of doors at that time?”

Duke of D. (hesitating): “I didn't sleep well. I went out for a stroll.”

The Coroner: “At three o'clock in the morning?”

Duke of D.: “Yes.” With sudden inspiration: “You see, my wife's away.” (Laughter and some remarks from the back of the room.)

The Coroner: “Silence, please ... You mean to say that you got up at that hour of an October night to take a walk in the garden in the pouring rain?”

Duke of D.: “Yes, just a stroll.” (Laughter.)

The Coroner: “At what time did you leave your bedroom?”

Duke of D.: “Oh—oh, about half-past two, I should think.”

The Coroner: “Which way did you go out?”

Duke of D.: “By the conservatory door.”

The Coroner: “The body was not there when you went out?”

Duke of D.: “Oh no!”

The Coroner: “Or you would have seen it?”

Duke of D.: “Lord, yes! I'd have had to walk over it.”

The Coroner: “Exactly where did you go?”

Duke of D. (vaguely): “Oh, just round about.”

The Coroner: “You heard no shot?”

Duke of D.: “No.”

The Coroner: “Did you go far away from the conservatory door and the shrubbery?”

Duke of D.: “Well—I was some way away. Perhaps that's why I didn't hear anything. It must have been.”

The Coroner: “Were you as much as a quarter of a mile away?”

Duke of D.: “I should think I was—oh yes, quite!”

The Coroner: “More than a quarter of a mile away?”

Duke of D.: “Possibly. I walked about briskly because it was cold.”

The Coroner: “In which direction?”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Clouds of Witness continued

He said, would I 'scuse him for interferin' in a very delicate matter, and all that, but did I know who Cathcart was? Said he'd met him in Paris during the war, and he lived by cheatin' at cards—said he could swear to it, with details of a row there'd been in some French place or other. Said he knew I'd want to chaw his head off—Freeborn's, I mean—for buttin' in, but he'd seen the man's photo in the paper, an' he thought I ought to know.”
The upper classes, particularly in England, played cards as a devoted hobby, from poker to bridge to whist. Someone who was caught cheating at cards was no longer considered a gentleman.
The Coroner: “Did this letter surprise you?”
Duke of D.: “Couldn't believe it at first. If it hadn't been old Tom Freeborn I'd have put the thing in the fire straight off, and, even as it was, I didn't quite know what to think. I mean, it wasn't as if it had happened in England, you know. I mean to say, Frenchmen get so excited about nothing. Only there was Freeborn, and he isn't the kind of man that makes mistakes.”
The Coroner: “What did you do?”
Duke of D.: “Well, the more I looked at it the less I liked it, you know. Still, I couldn't quite leave it like that, so I thought the best way was to go straight to Cathcart. They'd all gone up while I was sittin' thinking about it, so I went up and knocked at Cathcart's door. He said, 'What's that?' or 'Who the devil's that?' or somethin' of the sort, and I went in. 'Look here,' I said, 'can I just have a word with you?' 'Well, cut it short, then,' he said. I was surprised—he wasn't usually rude.
'Well,' I said, 'fact is, I've had a letter I don't much like the look of, and I thought the best thing to do was to bring it straight away to you an' have the whole thing cleared up. It's from a man—a very decent sort—old college friend, who says he's met you in Paris.' 'Paris!' he said, in a most uncommonly unpleasant way. 'Paris! What the hell do you want to come talkin' to me about Paris for?' 'Well,' I said, 'don't talk like that, because it's misleadin' under the circumstances.'
'What are you drivin' at?' says Cathcart. 'Spit it out and go to bed, for God's sake.' I said, 'Right oh! I will. It's a man called Freeborn, who says he knew you in Paris and that you made money cheatin' at cards.' I thought he'd break out at that, but all he said was, 'What about it?' 'What about it?' I said. 'Well, of course, it's not the sort of thing I'm goin' to believe like that, right bang-slap off, without any proofs.' Then he said a funny thing. He said, 'Beliefs don't matter—it's what one knows about people.' 'Do you mean to say you don't deny it?' I said. 'It's no good my denying it,' he said; 'you must make up your own mind. Nobody could disprove it.' And then he suddenly jumped up, nearly knocking the table over, and said, 'I don't care what you think or what you do, if you'll only get out. For God's sake leave me alone!' 'Look here,' I said, 'you needn't take it that way. I don't say I do believe it—in fact,' I said, 'I'm sure there must be some mistake; only, you bein' engaged to Mary,' I said, 'I couldn't just let it go at that without looking into it, could I?'
'Oh!' says Cathcart, 'if that's what's worrying you, it needn't. That's off.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'Our engagement.' 'Off?' I said. 'But I was talking to Mary about it only yesterday.' 'I haven't told her yet,' he said. 'Well,' I said, 'I think that's damned cool. Who the hell do you think you are, to come here and jilt my sister?'
To jilt is to deceive or drop (a lover) suddenly or callously. Possibly this is from the obsolete jilt, harlot, alteration of gillot, diminutive of gille, woman, girl, from Middle English.

Well, I said quite a lot, first and last. 'You can get out,' I said; 'I've no use for swine like you.' 'I will,' he said, and he pushed past me an' slammed downstairs and out of the front door, an' banged it after him.”
The Coroner: “What did you do?”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont.

Duke of D.: “Well, it was like this. We'd had a long day on the moor and had dinner early, and about half-past nine we began to feel like turning in.
Moorland or moor is a type of habitat found in upland areas, characterised by low growing vegetation on acidic soils, and heavy fog. Moorland nowadays generally means uncultivated hill land (such as Dartmoor in South West England), but the Old English mōr also refers to low-lying wetlands (such as Sedgemoor, also SW England).

My sister and Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson toddled on up, and we were havin' a last peg in the billiard-room when Fleming—that's my man—came in with the letters.
There are two different types of billiard tables. One has its pockets in the sides and corners of the table, the other, peg billiards, has its pockets on the playing surface itself. On the playfield are normally placed three pegs, also called skittles, with a horizontal wire through the peg which prevents it from falling completely down the hole. There are two white pegs, one either side of the 100 hole, and one black peg in front of the '200' hole. If a white peg is knocked over then the player's break is ended and all score acquired during that break is discarded. Knocking down the black peg ends the player's break and all points are lost. In the case that a white and a black peg are both knocked over, then only the first peg to be knocked over is used. All shots are played from one end of the table so access to all sides of the table is not necessary (which is ideal for a small room).
They come rather any old time in the evening, you know, we being two and a half miles from the village. No—I wasn't in the billiard-room at the time—I was lockin' up the gun-room. The letter was from an old friend of mind I hadn't seen for years—Tom Freeborn—used to know him at the House——”
The Coroner: “Whose house?”
Duke of D.: “Oh, Christ Church, Oxford. He wrote to say he'd seen the announcement of my sister's engagement in Egypt.”
Christ Church (Latin: Ædes Christi, the temple (æděs) or house (ædēs) of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. As well as being a college, Christ Church is also the cathedral church of the diocese of Oxford, namely Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Like its sister college, Trinity College, Cambridge, it was traditionally considered the most aristocratic of the Oxford colleges. The Coroner: “In Egypt?”
Duke of D.: “I mean, he was in Egypt—Tom Freeborn, you see—that's why he hadn't written before. He engineers. He went out there after the war was over, you see, and, bein' somewhere up near the sources of the Nile, he doesn't get the papers regularly.
European explorers of Africa made many expeditions to try to find the source of the Nile (which is actually two rivers.) The source of the White Nile is Lake Victoria, Uganda and of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, Ethiopia.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Finally got my computer back!

Here's the next few paragraphs.... with the annotations starting tomorrow with "moor." So that's something to look forward to!

I don't know what he did before he joined in 1914. I think he lived on his income; his father was well off. Crack shot, good at games, and so on. I never heard anything against him—till that evening.”
The Coroner: “What was that?”
Duke of D.: “Well—the fact is—it was deuced queer. He——If anybody but Tommy Freeborn had said it I should never have believed it.” (Sensation.)
The Coroner: “I'm afraid I must ask your grace of what exactly you had to accuse the deceased.”
Duke of D.: “Well, I didn't—I don't exactly accuse him. An old friend of mine made a suggestion. Of course I thought it must be all a mistake, so I went to Cathcart, and, to my amazement, he practically admitted it! Then we both got angry, and he told me to go to the devil, and rushed out of the house.” (Renewed sensation.)
The Coroner: “When did this quarrel occur?”
Duke of D.: “On Wednesday night. That was the last I saw of him.” (Unparalleled sensation.)
The Coroner: “Please, please, we cannot have this disturbance. Now, will your grace kindly give me, as far as you can remember it, the exact history of this quarrel?”

Friday, August 12, 2011

Towns celebrate literacy links to crime novel 80 years on

I'm a day late with this - sorry about that!

From The Galloway News, Aug 11, 2011: Towns celebrate literacy links to crime novel 80 years on
SHE is one of the most respected crime writers of the 20th century.

And tomorrow enthusiasts will descend on the Stewartry to celebrate the life and works of writer Dorothy L Sayers.

It will be the start of a four-day visit to the area by members of the Dorothy L Sayers Society. The members will be visiting to celebrate the 80th anniversary of The Five Red Herrings, which is set in Gatehouse and Kirkcudbright.

Dorothy L Sayers is best remembered for her crime series featuring amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, set between World War One and World War Two.

Local society member David Steel will be taking visitors on a walking tour around Kirkcudbright. He said: “I am looking forward to it. It has been many years since the society held its convention here. It will also be a boost for the local economy. Dorothy Sayers set the book in Gatehouse and Kirkcudbright because it was suggested to her by a local. Her husband, Mac Fleming knew artists in Gatehouse and she used a lot of their houses and studios for scenes in the book.”

Around 50 members of the society are expected to visit the Stewartry over the weekend and members of the public are welcome to attend two afternoon talks in Kirkcudbright on Saturday at the Parish Church Hall.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sayers in the News: Why Should We Redeem Society?

This article appeared in the Christian Post on July 19.

Note that when Dorothy Sayers stopped writing Peter Wimsey novels, she turned her attention to religion and Christian apologia, writing many works on that subject. (Her name is mentioned in the 7th para.)

Why Should We Redeem Society?

It seems necessary to address why and even if Christians should be involved in redeeming society and culture. There are many who deride such activity as being a diversion from the “real” work of the church, which in their minds is nothing more than articulating the personal plan of salvation (or “gospel,” very narrowly understood).

However, I would counter by saying that such a distinction is more accurately rooted in pagan dualism than scripture. Platonism divides reality into two spheres: the material and the nonmaterial-with the nonmaterial, or spiritual, being superior.

This classical Greek view offers a completely unbiblical understanding of reality. Its practical acceptance by many in the church has only served to further the irrelevance of Christianity in the modern West.

The Bible offers no such separation of spiritual and physical and, in fact, regards mankind as being unique from every other in creation precisely because of our combined natures. God’s ultimate act of atonement for the sins of men was to become flesh-a real man living in the real world dying a real death and being physically resurrected. Secondly, God is very much interested in his physical creation, as it remains an object of redemption, which will be completed in the new heaven and earth.

To reduce the gospel to nothing more than the personal plan of salvation (a strictly spiritual good) is to minimize God’s ongoing relationship to the world and Christ’s authority over same. The “good news” established at the appearance of Christ is that our God reigns! Both the alienation of mankind from God and the groaning of creation find their remedy or redemption in the work of Christ. Men and women are set free from eternal bondage to sin and enlisted in the service of the King as the body of Christ to “do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

These good works naturally include acts of mercy, charity, and service to individuals but also those efforts that seek to remedy the effects of the fall upon the whole society. In other words, redeeming the institutions of culture and the conditions of society that affect people by bringing them into conformity to biblical principles as a sign and foretaste of God’s rule and reign.

Our neglect in this area of redeeming culture only communicates that we-and worse, God-are not interested in the real world or the actual conditions that adversely affect human beings. This sentiment prompted Dorothy Sayers, a friend and peer of C. S. Lewis, to say, “Why would anyone remain interested in a religion that seems to have no interest in nine-tenths of his life?”

By not embracing the full scope of the gospel of the kingdom-that certainly includes saving grace but is not limited to it-we end up communicating that the only real gain of the gospel occurs after you’re dead, when you get to go to heaven! Such reductionism only fortifies Platonic dualism within the church and this reinforces the world’s impression that Christianity is nothing more than a privatized religious belief and not a public truth that applies to all of life.

By resuming a redemptive approach to the whole world-in which we take on real social problems, addressing not only the person but also the forces affecting him-the church can, once again, assume a viable role in society and the plausibility of Christian truth claims will rise. When I say “redemptive approach,” I am referring to a conscious effort aimed at bringing the institutions of culture under the guidance of a biblical worldview and working to remedy societal ills and human suffering through systemic changes to the conditions producing these ill effects.

Historic examples of this would include the actions and efforts of countless Christians, including William Wilberforce, to bring about the abolition of slavery. It was Christians who fought for and succeeded in bringing about much-needed reforms to the nineteenth-century penal system and child labor laws. It was Christians like as George Mueller who tackled the problem of orphans by building orphanages and caring for tens of thousands of previously indigent children. Despite her dubious soteriology, Clara Barton was nonetheless motivated by Christian faith to provide humane care for soldiers, prisoners of war, and veterans, and thus organized the American Red Cross; she was also instrumental in the United States’ ratification of the rules of the Geneva Conventions.

These were real conditions affecting real human lives and it was Christians, motivated by the love of Christ, who provided real solutions thereby bearing witness to the redemptive love and power of Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, if we understood our redemptive role in the world as being inclusive of both people and the societies in which they live, I contend that the culture would find it far more difficult to marginalize Christianity and the church. This demonstration of the gospel would then provide conditions far more favorable to the proclamation and reception of the gospel.

Let us abandon this Platonic dualism that so infects us and apply the good news of the kingdom to the whole of life-personally, culturally, and socially. What are the problems in your community that the Lord desires you to change? I would encourage you to ponder this question and seek God’s heart on the matter. Imagine this nation in which every professing follower of Christ sought the Lord’s will in this area and acted upon the desire to glorify Christ by becoming a redemptive influence in his or her community. It might just restore the church’s public witness and draw people into the kingdom-and glorify the King!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Religion - 'A Certain Nobleman' to be performed July 31

New Jersey.com: Religion - 'A Certain Nobleman' to be performed July 31

“A Certain Nobleman” will be performed at Norma Mennonite Church, 173 Almond Road, Norma, as a dramatic reading at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 31. This performance is free and the public is invited.

The play was written for radio by noted author Dorothy Sayers. It recounts the story of Jesus turning water to wine and several other Gospel episodes.

“Since the piece was originally written as a ‘sound only’ production we are trying to recreate the feel of Ms. Sayers’ radio experience,” said the Rev. Tim Darling, pastor at the church. “We could act it out with costumes and set, but that wasn’t the way it was imagined.”

The cast of eight will perform multiple roles, adding sound effects along the way. The audience may take the opportunity to imagine they are a live audience in a World War II era radio studio.

Norma Mennonite Church has given a number of dramatic productions, including a youth drama camp that ran for several summers.

Rev. Darling acted for seven years at Sight and Sound in Strasburg, Pa.

As a drama coach, he serves the Millville school district’s Gifted and Talented program in the annual “Performance Plus” workshops in the spring.

Sayers, known for her mysteries, wrote “Nobleman” as one installment of a much larger 12-part work titled “The Man Born to Be King,” performed on BBC beginning during the Christmas season of 1941.