Thursday, May 15, 2008

News From a Quiet Time

Eleanor has a companion.

The last three times I have come to her in my dreams, she has been speaking with someone - a man, I think, though I cannot see what his relation is to her - and I have had to be content to sit within her mind, and listen. The conversations were rich and varied, and I learned many things about this strange world you live in. Your arts are strange to me: there are no Mechanisms, no Gear Tourniers. I wonder how a civilization can be filled with machines, and no-one reaches for the art in them? I shudder at the number of machines I have seen which are created solely to do the work which should rightfully be done by people. How different our worlds are!

The man she speaks to is awkward; there is no Body-knowledge in him. He does not use his hands much. I wonder at that: how can someone so far-reaching in his speaking be so silent with the Gods? Perhaps the Gods themselves are silent, here.

In my world, things are moving slowly. I made, with less effort than I would have thought, a small set of leaping Clowns for the Spring Festival, which is supposed to be about joy and life. Our traditional Clown Engine was to be there, as usual, spinning and falling over and making great silly rollie-pollies and hand-stands to delight the audience; but I decided to make it an entourage. I carefully crafted the gears, enamelling them with many colors so they would match the Clown Engine, and housing them in elegant cut-brass carapaces. It was great fun working to make them wobbly and silly, instead of the other way round, and the leaping mechanism is quite cunning. I am proud of that.

So when the Clown Engine came out, surrounded by six leaping, tumbling children, a great roar went up from the crowd. Even I, who had seen it a hundred times before the Festival, was laughing at their antics. It buoyed my heart, and I determined to write to Ennis to tell him about it. I have heard no word from him since he went off to the University in Wurzen, though my father tells me he is well, and I have been thinking of how to write him in sisterly affection without seeming too stupid.

In two days' time, Hieram comes again, to stay for a fortnight or more. I heard this from Asta, who is close to the Greenswoman at the Palace - the person in charge of vegetables and fruits for the King's tables. This Greenswoman despises Hieram because he comes through the pantry and squeezes the fruit, looking for the best ones. Sometimes, she says, he takes bites to sample them, and then puts them back with the bites hidden. Once he did this to a bowl of fruit destined for the King's study, and the Greenswoman only found out at the last second. When Hieram is around, she locks the Pantry, but he is stealthy. It is like a war between them. What a childish mind he has! I don't look forward to his visit.

There was a great uproar last week at the College of Art and Metallurgical Philosophy, in the Western part of the city. They had a fire - not a large fire, and quickly put out, but it burned through

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