“Old Winter back to the savage hills Withdraws his force, decrepit now.”
Goethe pronounced the arrival of spring, which Vivaldi translated into “La primavera.” Spring seems to have finally arrived here in earnest. It really is. People come out of their domestic world to bask in the sun, in the glory of the beautiful weather.
To add more pleasing news to the celebration of the new season, the opening of “Bonnie’s,” a new ice cream parlor in town that serves prime quality ice cream and other refreshments in pleasingly prim atmosphere brings the grist to the mill of local business promotion and lively cultural landscape.
Proprietress of the store Bonnie is also an aficionado of the Arts, especially music, so she gladly and graciously let the Hollies hold a little recital in front of her new establishment. Thanks to Bonnie’s cultural sophistication in harmony with humanity, the recital of the Hollies made every spectator’s Sunday afternoon delightfully impressive and sweetly bright.
Mr. Fred Holstein (hereinafter “Fred”) visited his good friend Mr. Paul Collie (hereinafter “Paul”) on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Paul had a pretty garden in his backyard, and being a good friend of his, Fred even helped him water the home-grown vegetables. After their joint labor, Paul and Fred had a good time with their favorite snacks at the garden. In fact, Fred’s new jokes were so funny that Paul fell out of a chair. Then they parted merrily before the sunset. Tolstoy would have enjoyed himself if he had joined them at the garden, for it was his kind of nice restful time.
Author’s Note: Since downloading the video from the app seems to take forever, I have included its Youtube version in my Blog.
A merry heart goes all the day, warding off evils of everyday existential life. The Bard said, “Frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.” Which also strikes the biblical chord of “Refrain from anger. Turn from wrath. Do not fret; it leads only to evil.” It all fits Sally’s way of fulfilling demands placed on her daily tasks in life and enjoying small pleasures in the simple and sweet novelty of it all.
Author’s note: with my new iPhone, nothing is impossible 🙂 I hope to make a short film, using a series of stop motions, in future.
All lawyers are educated, expensive mercenaries of fortune with a high chance of variable expediency in allegiance to whoever employs their burst of legal pep, or “intelligent drudgery,” so to speak. Lawyers know no fear but lots of hubris that can move heaven and earth because of their Napoleonic credo of “There’s no word for impossibility in my dictionary.” To Sally, it’s a real case of Sartre’s existentialism which dictates that “Experience precedes essence.” And yet, the images of gentlemanly lawyers in the characters of Atticus in To kill a mockingbird played by Gregory Peck and Kavanagh QC portrayed by John Thaw are hard to be disembarrassed from Sally’s abstract ideas of fine lawyers.
Sally’s position of legal assistant wears many hats: secretary, paralegal, accountant, receptionist, calendar person, and whipping girl paid to do a one-man show at a high price. You may yoke the concept of the position into that of a pricey maid, sort of an upgraded modern version of educated head maid you may see in TV period dramas, such as Upstairs and Downstairs, Berkeley Squares, and The Duchess of Duke Street. Accordingly, like a dutiful head maid in a manor house, docile Sally exerts all her efforts to fulfill incredibly hectic demands imposed upon her daily tasks with graceful patience and her very pretty smile.
“It’s all a mind game, a sort of mental Tetris in which I have to find out a way to accomplish my tasks without being jammed with constantly generating tile blocks to be upgraded to the next level. And I want to win in this game.” Surely, as consciousness is the foundation of the universe, marshaling self-discipline and courage to perform her tasks to the fullest extent possible is the sine qua non of her happy metier. After all, the nature of lawyering turns its practitioner into a professional inquisitor of wickedness of mankind as observed by Arthur Schopenhauer.
Marriage is an official commitment of love. A man and a woman tie the knot of conjugal relationship in which both of them promise to remain true blue till death do them apart. Call it anachronistic or incongruent or even antediluvian, but even in this era of the social media and reality entertainment, this traditional sense of marriage is still valid, complacently being moored to societal conventions and traditions. Well, anyway, it really doesn’t matter to Lady Seraphina, who remained maiden, still remains maiden, and will remain maiden, unless Aphrodite concocts the same kind of love-play on her as the one she did on Dido thousands years ago. But readers can rest assured because it is hardly ever so that Lady Seraphina will likely relinquish her maiden license which permits her to regale herself with romantic solitude as her sanctuary. She is above her class, she is above her sex, she is above her race. Seraphina belongs to her own class that resembles none other than itself. That’s probably why she stays unsullied by leering eyes of the undesirable.
Notwithstanding the aforesaid account of Seraphina’s maiden ladyship, she does not eschew the subject of wedding if it involves historical anecdotes and interesting vignettes, such as the following facts about the Victorian wedding she came upon from her reading. Always a student of history, especially about everyday life of ordinary folks and eccentricities of aristocrats (the persons of Sandwich and Portland conjured up suddenly), Seraphina read about it with a kind of cheeky relish conflated with a social superiority that reminded her of her uniqueness on par with Pythia, Artemis, and Vestal Virgins. Anyway, the facts about the Victorian wedding were quite interesting to compare the bygone customs and norms with those of modern day (come to think of it, the “modern day” will be a bygone day in any time soon.) The following were what Seraphina learned from the read:
Selection of the perfect partner (so to speak): The right status and temperament were the elemental basis of a desirable husband. Love? Enough of it was believed to follow upon marriage, as St. John Rivers proposed to Jane Eyre whom he regarded as a suitable wife of a missionary in India, a female apostle. In fact, the creator of Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte urged a friend to consider a proposal of marriage even if she felt disgusted for the man, so long as he had common sense, a good disposition, and a manageable temperament. However, crossing over the boundaries of classes was a rarity. It’s probably why a romance between Mr. Edward Rochester and Jane Eyre, a governess under his employment, was quite sensational to readers of the time. The average ages for marriage were 26 for men and 24 for women. However, girls at 12 and boys at 14 could also marry under the consents of their parents.
Where to tie the knot: All marriages were to be performed according to the rites of the Church of England with the exception of Jews and Quakers (Note that Catholics were still disfranchised in the realm of societal privileges due to England’s being staunchly anti-papist.) However, thanks to the Marriage Act 1836, couples were able to marry in a register office and according to their own religious rites, as long as they did so in a registered place of worship with a civil register in attendance. In fact, many an eloped couple and bigamist preferred a civil ceremony that gave them more privacy than a religious ceremony. Think of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester who married in front of a magistrate as the narrative hinted at the end of the story.
Selection of wedding dates: Spring and summer wedding days were in-vogue among the city bourgeoisie and country aristocrats, whereas among farmers October was the most popular following the harvest season. In the wake of Industrial Revolution, Sunday became the most favorable wedding day for city workers in urban areas. Until 1886, weddings had to take place between 8:00 AM and noon with an extra half-day off given to urban laborers. Thereafter, the hours were changed to 3:00 PM to reflect both the working hours of the lower classes and change of social habits of the upper class.
Post-Wedding activities: The bigger and more extravagant wedding banquet was, the wealthier the host thereof – usually at the home of the bride – was regarded as. It was usually breakfast served at the banquet. After the procession of the guests and ceremonial functions, the newly-married were hurriedly off to a love nest where they could be left alone to get to know each other in the most intimate and loving way. Which attests to what George Elliot, who was in fact never officially married, said of the nature of honeymoon as aiming “to isolate two people on the ground that they are all the world to each other.” This honeymoon ritual became an important part of the process of getting married and was called “a wedding holiday,” so to speak. But alas, for some couples it was a time when the flaws and faults of a partner were laid bare, revealing cardinal irreconcilability in naked truth.
So the Victorian wedding was more of a social function that displayed one’s status and wealth. And with respect to the honeymoon occasion, it was something to be reckoned with in this modern time when the idea of marriage has become nothing more than official proclamation of legal co-habitation that is subject to be a void under the convenient pretext of irreconcilable differences between the partners. Besides, marriage now is more of a serial monogamy due to a fashionable trend of divorce. Seraphina thinks that although time changes and people change, marriage should be a sacred rite of starting a new family, the basic unit of society, a cradle of civilization that should not be dealt with a whimsical or capricious spark of passion soon to be extinguished time after time. Hasty marriage seldom proves well. Seraphina may be an old-fashioned lady with traditional values and pristine ideas about love and romance, but she believes that marriage as a time-honored institution throughout our civilization that has been preserved for thousands of years should be respected and kept alive as William Shakespeare concurred: “Marriage is a matter of more worth than to be dealt in by attorneyship.” And mind you that the real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in a grand hotel or church. It’s a capital choice you make that is reflected in the way you treat your partner. Which also links to what Oscar Wilde advised to would-be lovers: “Never fall in love with one who treats you like you are ordinary.” How rightly so!