Beardvember is over. It lasted just slightly less than half the time I’ve already been in France. (AHH! Apparently I haven’t learned how not to keep track of time.) I haven’t decided yet whether it feels like I’ve shaved off a month of wisdom. In any case, whenever I get around to sharing a photo-exclusive post perhaps I will share the interesting results. Although maybe not since it has nothing to do with France.
The days seem to be moving rather quickly for the moment. Just now I was considering whether I should write a post, and I thought, “Nah, I just wrote one recently.” Wrong, three days ago! What happened to that every-other-day rule? It wasn’t forgotten—just ignored. But I didn’t hear any complaints, so…
In order to get the most value out of my frequent traveler card for the public transportation in Paris I’ve been going to Paris quite a bit recently. When you’re by yourself you can cover a lot of ground; you kind of have to actually—without anyone to talk to you just keep moving.
There are getting to be fewer and fewer quartiers in Paris with which I am completely unfamiliar. I was asked a question about Paris the other day that I could not adequately respond to. The question was whether I had fallen in love with Paris like everyone else. Right now it’s hard to say. The best answer I have at the moment is that I am fascinated by it—that’s why I can walk around it endlessly. We’ll just have to wait and see whether this fascination transforms into love.
And now for a completely unrelated, though nonetheless interesting anecdote from the most recent essai:
You will read in history, of many who have been in such apprehension, that the most part have taken the course to meet and anticipate conspiracies against them by punishment and revenge; but I find very few who have reaped any advantage by this proceeding; witness so many Roman emperors. Whoever finds himself in this danger, ought not to expect much either from his vigilance or power; for how hard a thing is it for a man to secure himself from an enemy, who lies concealed under the countenance of the most assiduous friend we have, and to discover and know the wills and inward thoughts of those who are in our personal service. ‘Tis to much purpose to have a guard of foreigners about one, and to be always fenced about with a pale of armed men; whosoever despises his own life, is always master of that of another man.—[Seneca, Ep., 4.]—And moreover, this continual suspicion, that makes a prince jealous of all the world, must of necessity be a strange torment to him. Therefore it was, that Dion, being advertised that Callippus watched all opportunities to take away his life, had never the heart to inquire more particularly into it, saying, that he had rather die than live in that misery, that he must continually stand upon his guard, not only against his enemies, but his friends also;—[Plutarch, Apothegms.]—which Alexander much more vividly and more roundly manifested in effect, when, having notice by a letter from Parmenio, that Philip, his most beloved physician, was by Darius’ money corrupted to poison him, at the same time he gave the letter to Philip to read, drank off the potion he had brought him. Was not this to express a resolution, that if his friends had a mind to despatch him out of the world, he was willing to give them opportunity to do it? This prince is, indeed, the sovereign pattern of hazardous actions; but I do not know whether there be another passage in his life wherein there is so much firm courage as in this, nor so illustrious an image of the beauty and greatness of his mind.