Friday, 27 January 2012

Futile Ink and the Flying Facts by Dickens

Mr Dick is working at his Memorial. He is doing this to keep King Charles I's head out of his mind. It is an image that torments him: the troubled mind of the decapitated king has found its way into Mr Dick's. But in vain, in vain. The Memorial will never be finished. But at least the facts can fly away.

"I found him still driving at it with a long pen, and his head almost laid upon the paper. He was so intent upon it, that I had ample leisure to observe the large paper kite in a corner, the confusion of bundles of manuscript, the number of pens, and above all, the quantity of ink (which he seemed to have in, in half-gallon jars by the dozen), before he observed my being present.


"What do you think of that for a kite?" he said. ... "I made it. We'll go and fly it, you and I," said Mr. Dick. "Do you see this?"

He showed me that it was covered with manuscript, very closely and laboriously written; but so plainly, that as I looked along the lines, I thought I saw some allusion to King Charles the First's head again, in one or two places.

"There's plenty of string," said Mr. dick, "and when it flies high, it takes the facts a long way. That's my manner of diffusing 'em. I don't know where they may come down. It's according to circumstances, and the wind, and so forth; but I take my chance of that."

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Oxford University Press 1981.

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