Friday, December 14, 2012

Clouds of Witness chapter 9

“'and the moral of that is——' said the Duchess.”
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

                A party of four were assembled next morning at a very late breakfast, or very early lunch, in Lord Peter's flat. Its most cheerful member, despite a throbbing shoulder and a splitting headache, was undoubtedly Lord Peter himself, who lay upon the chesterfield surrounded with cushions and carousing upon tea and toast. Having been brought home in an ambulance, he had instantly fallen into a healing sleep, and had woken at nine o'clock aggressively clear and active in mind. In consequence, Mr. Parker had been dispatched in a hurry, half-fed and burdened with the secret memory of last night's disclosures, to Scotland Yard. Here he had set in motion the proper machinery for catching Lord Peter's assassin. “Only don't you say anything about the attack on me,” said his lordship. “Tell 'em he's to be detained in connection with the Riddlesdale case. That's good enough for them.” It was now eleven, and Mr. Parker had returned, gloomy and hungry, and was consuming a belated omelette and a glass of claret.
                Lady Mary Wimsey was hunched up in the window-seat. Her bobbed golden hair made a little blur of light about her in the pale autumn sunshine. She had made an attempt to breakfast early, and now sat gazing out into Piccadilly. Her first appearance that morning had been made in Lord Peter's dressing-gown, but she now wore a serge skirt and jade-green jumper, which had been brought to town for her by the fourth member of the party, now composedly eating a mixed grill and sharing the decanter with Parker.
                This was a rather short, rather plump, very brisk elderly lady, with bright black eyes like a bird's, and very handsome white hair exquisitely dressed. Far from looking as though she had just taken a long night journey, she was easily the most composed and trim of the four. She was, however, annoyed, and said so at considerable length. This was the Dowager Duchess of Denver.
                “It is not so much, Mary, that you went off so abruptly last night—just before dinner, too—inconveniencing and alarming us very much—indeed, poor Helen was totally unable to eat her dinner, which was extremely distressing to her feelings, because, you know, she always makes such a point of never being upset about anything—I really don't know why, for some of the greatest men have not minded showing their feelings, I don't mean Southerners necessarily, but as Mr. Chesterton very rightly points out—Nelson, too, who was certainly English if he wasn't Irish or Scotch, I forget, but United Kingdom, anyway (if that means anything nowadays with a Free State—such a ridiculous title, especially as it always makes one think of the Orange Free State, and I'm sure they wouldn't care to be mixed up with that, being so very green themselves).
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was an English writer. He wrote on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction. Chesterton is often referred to as the "prince of paradox",[2] The Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."

Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics and even some of those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton, as a political thinker, cast aspersions on both progressivism and conservatism, saying, "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify such a position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton's "friendly enemy" according to Time, said of him, "He was a man of colossal genius.”

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) He was born in a rectory in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, England, the sixth of eleven children of the Reverend Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine. He was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of decisive naval victories. He was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm and the sight in one eye. Of his several victories, the best known and most notable was the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during which he was shot and killed.

The Irish Free State (6 December 1922 – 1937) was the state established in 1922 as a dominion under the Anglo-Irish Treaty signed by British and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand. On the day the Irish Free State was established, it comprised the entire island of Ireland, but Northern Ireland almost immediately exercised its right under the treaty to remove itself from the new state. The Irish Free State effectively replaced both the self-proclaimed Irish Republic (founded 21 January 1919) and the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland. W. T. Cosgrave, the first President of the Irish Free State had led both of these "governments" since August 1922.

The Irish Free State came to an end in 1937, when the citizens voted by referendum to replace the 1922 constitution. It was succeeded by the sovereign and current state of Ireland.

The Orange Free State (Dutch: Oranje-Vrijstaat Afrikaans: Oranje-Vrystaat) was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province. Extending between the Orange and Vaal rivers, its borders were determined by the United Kingdom in 1848 when the region was proclaimed as the Orange River Sovereignty, with a seat of a British Resident in Bloemfontein.

In the northern part of the territory a Voortrekker Republic was established at Winburg in 1837. This state merged with the Republic of Potchefstroom which later formed part of the South African Republic (Transvaal).

Following the granting of independence to the Transvaal Republic, the British recognized the independence of the Orange River Sovereignty on 17 February 1854 and the country officially became independent as the Orange Free State on 23 February 1854, with the signing of the Orange River Convention. The new republic incorporated both the Orange River Sovereignty and the traditions of the Winburg-Potchefstroom Republic. The U.S.A. and the Orange Free State mutually recognized each other in 1871.

Although the Orange Free State developed into a politically and economically successful republic, it experienced chronic conflict with the British (see Boer Wars) until it was finally annexed as the Orange River Colony in 1900. It ceased to exist as an independent Boer republic on 31 May 1902 with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging at the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Boer War. It joined the Union of South Africa in 1910 (which became the Republic of South Africa in 1961) as a province under its former name, along with the Cape Province, Natal, and the Transvaal.

The republic's name derives partly from the Orange River, which in turn was named in honour of the Dutch ruling royal family, the House of Orange, by the Dutch settlers under Robert Jacob Gordon. The official language in the Orange Free State was Dutch.

And going off without even proper clothes, and taking the car, so that I had to wait till the 1.15 from Northallerton—a ridiculous time to start, and such a bad train, too, not getting up till 10.30. Besides, if you must run off to town, why do it in that unfinished manner? If you had only looked up the trains before starting, you would have seen you would have half an hour's wait at Northallerton, and you could quite easily have packed a bag. It's so much better to do things neatly and thoroughly—even stupid things. And it was very stupid of you indeed to dash off like that, to embarrass and bore poor Mr. Parker with a lot of twaddle—though I suppose it was Peter you meant to see. You know, Peter, if you will haunt low places full of Russians and sucking Socialists taking themselves seriously, you ought to know better than to encourage them by running after them, however futile, and given to drinking coffee and writing poems with no shape to them, and generally ruining their nerves. And in any case, it makes not the slightest difference; I could have told Peter all about it myself, if he doesn't know already, as he probably does.”

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