A Voice From the Shadows...

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Wed Jan 19 13:11:42 EST 2000

Alice wrote:

> It took the sea a thousand years,
> A thousand years to trace
> The granite features of this cliff,
> In crag and scarp and base.
> It took the sea an hour one night,
> An hour of storm to place
> The sculpture of these granite seams
> Upon a woman's face.
> So we were talking, in the vague way that one does in highschool
> classes, about what the poem meant, and so on. Everyone seemed to have a
> general consensus on that; everyone seemed to "get it", so to speak.
> Except for one girl, who bravely put up her hand and voiced a different
> opinion. She thought the poem was about a cliff falling over and
> squashing a woman. Our English teacher, in the most polite and

I will confess it took me several readings to get it.  I could tell it wasn't
meant to be the cliff falling on her, but I didn't think of a better
interpretation until several readings later...

Anyway, welcome to the list!

> 'I just can't get past the idea of Julius Caesar saying "Weni Widi
> Wici."'
> Do other people know the little book _1066 And All That_? It's an absurd
> account of English history, and the humour of it is something of an

Famous book!  No, I've never read it, although I've dipped into it in friends'
collections once or twice.

> P.P.S. I just finished rereading HMC, and I have to ask -- how many
> other people got out their calculators and divided 10 000 by 365 to find
> out exactly how old Howl is? He's older than I thought.

Older than you thought?  Other clues in the book point IMHO to older still...



Rather a frightening thought is that I celebrated my 10000th birthday (the
10000th day since my birth) over 4 years ago now! (yes I did celebrate it!)
[gets out calculator]  Over 5 years! Ouch!  Anyway, by age 10000, Howl has been
in Ingary for at least 10 years - he started studying with Mrs Pentstemmon ten
years previously IIRC.

Since he apparently did a PhD in our world, I would have thought he had gone to
Mrs P after this, in his early twenties; his PhD research having provided the
means to get there.  But presumably he has spent most of his spare time since
6th form visiting Ingary, if he is still only 10000 days old.  But that did
enable him to study with Mrs P in time to use a lot of her teaching in his

(And Annabel Fairfax remembers Howl "in his student days" - when she was perhaps
young enough that he tried to attract her.  But this latter is mere speculation)


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