Thursday, April 03, 2008

From Dr. Thursday

Concerning The Queer Feet, Thank you sooooo much!:


Dear ChesterTeens:Alas I have no time to spend, but shall just make some quick comments between chores:

1. How to appear at once a gentleman and a servant: That's easy. If one stands at attention then leans back against a wall - from the side one may appear as a gentleman relaxing, but from the front, an alert servant. (I have not tried it, but it seems possible. This is one of those acting things we need to consult the experts on. I shall ask.)

2. What is the thread: That's a delightful homeage to George MacDonald'sThe Princess and the Goblin - but of course is nothing more than an extended metaphor deriving from our Lord: "And he saith to them:
Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men." [Mt 4:19] This is bolstered by the quote much later in the story where Father Brown says, "You are The Twelve True Fishers, and there are all your silver fish. But He has made me a fisher of men."

I assume you meant those other two paragraphs as questions; at least I have something to say about them:

3. Odd that a thief should repent: Of course, that ought to be obvious having just gone through Holy Week. Someone else, bothered by this idea,elicits this reaction: "Yes," said Father Brown, "and only a convicted thief has ever in this world heard that assurance: 'This night shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.' " ["The Man With Two Beards" in The Secret of FatherBrown, cf. Lk 23:43]

4. work of art: Yes, though of course only God creates (and Man subcreates); the devil can do no more than damage. There is an allusion to this in Tolkien which I cannot look up just now; something about how the Dark Power cannot create, but only deface, or deform. (This relates to the forming of orcs.) But for now I think it important to contemplate another line from another Father Brown story:"I am never surprised," said Father Brown, "at any work of hell." ["The God of the Gongs" in The Wisdom of Father Brown] Real Art DOES surprise - and God gives us such things, and Man (to the extent that He remains true to Art) can cooperate in such surprises. The Dark Powers might shock but can by no means surprise. But Art MUST be"simple" - that is what makes it Art. It is a principle of Scholastic Philosophy that "Any work is more perfect as it is more perfectly one.".... but here I find I am out of time... and I leave you to continue the discussion.

-Dr. Thursday

1 comment:

Mapaz said...

Thank you so much ! Now, before getting down to work again, I'll try somehow to put my thoughts in order:

The Queer Feet is the tale Lady Marchmain was reading in Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh's novel, the day Sebastian got so drunk. If you've read the book, you'll probably know Sebastian's sad end (if you've not, I suggest you read it when you have time). But despite everything, no matter how far Sebastian wandered, no matter how wrong he could have been, he finally returned home, the Church.

I think that, more or less, all those who have been caught with this invisible hook are those that belong to Christ's Church by baptism. As Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, we can wander to the ends of the world, and still be brought back with a twitch upon the thread, because we are God's sons and daughters.

So, what do you make of it? I'd love to hear your opinions, specially concerning the fourth question. :P