Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth’s mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half-a-mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!

from Jane Austen “Pride and Prejudice”

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London in October, 2010.


A Scandal in Bohemia

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most prefect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position, He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer – excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions.

from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle “The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes”

London, UK in October, 2010.


Never Let Me Go

I caught a glimpse of his face in the moonlight, caked in mud and distorted with fury, then I reached for his flailing arms and held on tight. He tried to shake me off, but I kept holding on, until he stopped shouting and I felt the fight go out of him. Then I realised he too had his arms around me, And so we stood together like that, at the top of that field, for what seemed like ages, not saying anything, just holding each other, while the wind kept blowing and blowing at us, tugging our clothes, and for a moment, it seemed like we were holding onto each other because that was the only way to stop us being swept away into the night.

from Kazuo Ishiguro “Never Let Me Go”

Hampstead, London, UK in October, 2010.



To be, or not to be, that is the question: 
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to? ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To dis to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.  There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life:

Not a whit, we defy augury; there is special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come: if it be not come, it will be now: if it be not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all, since no man has aught of what he leaves. What is’t to leave betimes?

Heaven make thee free of it, I follow three.  
I am dead Horatio, wretched Queen adieu.
You look that pale, and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act: 
Had I but time (as this fell Sergeant Death is strict in his arrest) O I could tell you.
But let it be: Horatio, I am dead,
Thou liv’st, report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

from William Shakespeare “Hamlet”

Haidelberg, Germany in September, 2013.