Thursday, January 02, 2003

An associate of mine named William Congreve once wrote a very sad play that begins with the line “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” a sentence which here means that if you are nervous or upset, you might listen to some music to calm you down or cheer you up. For instance, as I crouch here behind the alter of the Cathedral of the Alleged Virgin, a friend of mine is playing a sonata on a pipe organ, to calm me down and so the sounds of my typewriter will not be heard by the worshippers in the pews. The mournful melody of the sonata reminds me of a tune my father used to sing while he did the dishes, and as I listen to it I can temporarily forget six or seven of my troubles.

Lemony Snicket, The Hostile Hospital (37-38)

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