Justice for all? Spanish lessons on corruption and ‘draining the swamp’ - A civil guard informs people of an ongoing raid as part of a corruption probe in Torrejon de Ardoz near Madrid, Spain. REUTERS/Andrea Comas Corruption has ...
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On this day 120 years ago 23 September 1889 Wilkie Collins died. He wrote his last letter just two days earlier to his doctor. "I am dying old friend. WC." and on the other side of the paper "They are driving me mad forbidding the [hypodermic]. Come for God's sake. I am too wretched to write."
Subject: Happy birthday Dr J
Today is Dr Johnson’s 300th birthday. I feel a bit sad that a Department which once boasted a very impressive 18th-century research output, including John Wiltshire’s wonderful work on Johnson, now doesn’t teach him any more. Just thought you would like to know. Don’t break out into congratulatory whoops, though, as Dr J spent most birthdays regretting his sins and vowing to do better the next year. For example, I rather like this one, given that I’ll turn 56 this year:
Sept. 18, 1764, about 6 evening.
This is my fifty-sixth birth-day, the day on which I have concluded fifty five years.
I have outlived many friends. I have felt many sorrows. I have made few improvements. Since my resolution formed last Easter I have made no advancement in knowledge or in goodness; nor do I recollect that I have endeavoured it. I am dejected but not hopeless.
O God for Jesus Christ's Christ's sake have mercy upon me.
... she had thought of something, something about the body, about the passions which it was unfitting for her as a woman to say. Men, her reason told her, would be shocked. The consciousness of what men will say of a woman who speaks the truth about her passions had roused her from her artist's state of unconsciousness. She could write no more. The trance was over. Her imagination could work no longer. This I believe to be a very common experience with women writers - they are impeded by the extreme conventionality of the other sex. For though men sensibly allow themselves great freedom in these respects, I doubt they realise or can control the extreme severity with which they condemn such freedom in women...Telling the truth about my experiences as a body, I do not think I solved. I doubt that any woman has solved it yet.
She was wondering whether it would be nosy to ask Miss Foot why she was on the ship when her companion said, 'I am travelling to New York to visit my sister. We've not met for fifty years. She has cancer and would like to see me again. I shall try to help her but I fear she is resistant to help. That is the true sin against the Holy Ghost -- the refusal of grace and mercy.'
'Yes,' said Vi. 'I think you might be right about that.'
'She is intense,' Miss Foot went on. 'But intensity is not an index of spiritual depth.'
'I would not be surprised, though naturally I shall not say this, if it were not the intensity that led to the cancer. Misdirected it can be malign.'
'I am sure.'
'Well, I'll be off to my bed. I am reading Moby Dick. I felt I should acquaint myself a little more with the Americans in preparation for this trip. The writing is very energetic -- the Americans are energetic, I admire them for that -- but it could do with some editing. There is far too much about harpoons.'
'Yes,' said Vi. 'I agree with you about that too.'
'Well, goodnight, dear.'