Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Mr. Crawley's Desk

Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset, Chapter IV (The Clergyman's House at Hogglestock):
At the further end of the room there was an ancient piece of furniture, which was always called "papa's secretary," at which Mr. Crawley customarily sat and wrote his sermons, and did all work that was done by him within the house. The man who had made it, some time in the last century, had intended it to be a locked guardian for domestic documents, and the receptacle for all that was most private in the house of some paterfamilias. But beneath the hands of Mr. Crawley it always stood open; and with the exception of the small space at which he wrote, was covered with dog's-eared books, from nearly all of which the covers had disappeared. There were there two odd volumes of Euripides, a Greek Testament, an Odyssey, a duodecimo Pindar, and a miniature Anacreon. There was half a Horace,—the two first books of the Odes at the beginning and the De Arte Poetica at the end having disappeared. There was a little bit of a volume of Cicero, and there were Caesar's Commentaries in two volumes, so stoutly bound that they had defied the combined ill-usage of time and the Crawley family. All these were piled upon the secretary, with many others,—odd volumes of sermons and the like; but the Greek and Latin lay at the top, and showed signs of frequent use.
David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690), Still Life

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