Friday, November 06, 2015

Sir Walter Scott: on Cats

One reason I enjoy reading great literature is the gems of description often found interspersed throughout the story.  Here is one we found this week while reading Quentin Durward. I would say Scott pretty much nailed it. Our cat has done all these things, although for him, he pursues geckos and flies and crickets rather than mice. I would not trust a courtier who acted like a cat!

The aptest resemblance of his motion and manners might perhaps be to those of a domestic cat, which, while couching in apparent slumber, or gliding through the apartment with slow, stealthy, and timid steps, is now engaged in watching the hole of some unfortunate mouse, now in rubbing herself with apparent confidence and fondness against those by whom she desires to be caressed, and, presently after, is flying upon her prey, or scratching, perhaps, the very object of her former cajolements. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Scott on Leaving Something to Imagination

"...he was startled by a strain of music which was suddenly waked by one of those doors, and which, at least in his imagination, was a combination of the same lute and voice by which he had been enchanted on the preceding day... These delightful sounds were but partially heard-- they languished, lingered, ceased entirely, and were from time to time renewed after certain intervals. But, besides that music, like beauty, is often most delightful, or at least most interesting, to the imagination when its charms are but partially displayed and the imagination is left to fill up what is from a distance but imperfectly detailed, Quentin had matter enough to fill up his reverie during the intervals of fascination."

--Sir Walter Scott, Quentin Durward