March 31, 2006

Good and clever

Posted in Knitting, Varia at 12:31 pm by mamalu

Franklin’s Good Girls versus Bad Girls* field hockey match got me thinking that the good girls (and I believe they was robbed) could also be divided into the “good” and the “clever,” along the lines of the poem by that name. That sent me off to find it, and I was startled to discover that it does not end, as I thought, at the end of the second verse, but that there is a third.

    Good and Clever
    If all the good people were clever,
      And all clever people were good,
    The world would be nicer than ever
      We thought that it possibly could.
    But somehow ’tis seldom or never
      The two hit it off as they should,
    The good are so harsh to the clever,
      The clever, so rude to the good!
    So friends, let it be our endeavour
      To make each by each understood;
    For few can be good, like the clever,
      Or clever, so well as the good.
    Elizabeth Wordsworth

I’m afraid the last verse is a bit of a cop-out; no wonder it has been forgotten. I also looked for more information about Elizabeth Wordsworth. She was described in one place as “grand niece of the poet Wordsworth” and in another as “educator.” I think that hardly does justice to a woman who founded two Oxford Colleges—Lady Margaret Hall and St. Hugh’s College. I vaguely remember my mother saying that she was a friend or at least acquaintance of my grandmother’s. That wouldn’t surprise me, since Granny was something of a bluestocking. She was also friends with Miss Willis of Downe House and made good use of her time by attending lectures in London before she was married (which didn’t happen until she was pushing 30).

I asked my mother if my grandmother had been a suffragette, but I was told that she disapproved of the woman, Emily Davison, who flung herself in front of one of the horses at the running of the 1913 Derby. Miss Davison died of her injuries, but I gather, the cause of Granny’s disapproval was the possibility that it might have resulted in the horse having to be put down.

The shawl won out over the wristwarmers again last night. I am five rows away from the watershed, so I think it’s going on the ferry with me today, and then I’ll
put it aside.

* I can’t tell you how chuffed I am that the link to the Panopticon goes to the right post. (Back)


March 30, 2006

From Bakersfield to Washington

Posted in Knitting, Varia at 11:11 am by mamalu

My daughter is writing a paper for an American history course on the Earl Warren Supreme Court, and last night she e-mailed us a copy for comments and mentioned that she was stuck on a title (her professor likes them to be unusual or provocative). Earl Warren was an interesting man, one of a small percentage of Supreme Court justices from humble beginnings, his rulings championed the powerless because he insisted on fairness. When Warren was a DA in California, his father was murdered, but he refused to allow the police to eavesdrop on a suspect, and the murder was never solved.

Given that he was raised in Bakersfield, California, the title was a no-brainer—

   You don’t know me, but you don’t like me
   You say you care less how I feel
   But how many of you that sit and judge me
   Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

The cobweb crepe centre is approaching its watershed. I am about 10 rows away from 81 side loops (160+ rows and stitches), when I can start decreasing. But the wristwarmers are languishing on the sofa, and I promised to mail them to Kate before we leave on Tuesday. It looks as though the Air Canada passengers from Toronto to Beijing will have to put up with the crazy counting lady. Poor Anselm, these things make him very uncomfortable.