Happy Mary Henrietta Kingsley's Birthday
I think I shall celebrate this as an annual thing, with blockquotes.
Travels in West Africa, by Mary Henrietta Kingsley
Chapter XXIII. Of Leopards.
Thus I once came upon a leopard. I had got caught in a tornado in a dense forest. The massive, mighty trees were waving like a wheat-field in an autumn gale in England, and I dare say a field mouse in a wheat-field in a gale would have heard much the same uproar.
The tornado shrieked like ten thousand vengeful demons. The great trees creaked and groaned and strained against it and their bush-rope cables groaned and smacked like whips, and ever and anon a thundering crash with snaps like pistol shots told that they and their mighty tree had strained and struggled in vain. The fierce rain came in a roar, tearing to shreds the leaves and blossoms and deluging everything.
I was making bad weather of it, and climbing up over a lot of rocks out of a gully bottom where I had been half drowned in a stream, and on getting my head to the level of a block of rock I observed right in front of my eyes, broadside on, maybe a yard off, certainly not more, a big leopard.
He was crouching on the ground, with his magnificent head thrown back and his eyes shut. His fore-paws were spread out in front of him and he lashed the ground with his tail, and I grieve to say, in face of that awful danger—I don't mean me, but the tornado—that depraved creature swore, softly, but repeatedly and profoundly.
I did not get all these facts up in one glance, for no sooner did I see him than I ducked under the rocks, and remembered thankfully that leopards are said to have no power of smell. But I heard his observation on the weather, and the flip-flap of his tail on the ground.
Every now and then I cautiously took a look at him with one eye round a rock-edge, and he remained in the same position. My feelings tell me he remained there twelve months, but my calmer judgment puts the time down at twenty minutes; and at last, on taking another cautious peep, I saw he was gone.
At the time I wished I knew exactly where, but I do not care about that detail now, for I saw no more of him. He had moved off in one of those weird lulls which you get in a tornado, when for a few seconds the wild herd of hurrying winds seem to have lost themselves, and wander round crying and wailing like lost souls, until their common rage seizes them again and they rush back to their work of destruction.
It was an immense pleasure to have seen the great creature like that.
(The above was all one paragraph originally: you don't get paragraphs like that these days. People won't put up with it.)
I got some bad news today.
I'm knitting the soapbubble stole on a lovely pair of 32 inch Silverado circular knitting needles from Susan Bates. I was thinking how nice it would be to have a couple of longer pairs, so I went to Joann.com, where I got these . . . and I didn't find any length of US size 2s.
I wandered all around the internet looking for these things, and finally I sent an email to Coats & Clark asking about them. Guess what I got today?
Thank you for your recent inquiry.
Unfortunately, the product (Silverado Knitting and Crocher [sic] accessories) you requested is no longer available and we regret that we have no remaining inventory.
Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.
(Sarcastic grumbling about their definition of "service" versus my definition.)
Thank goodness KnitPicks offers a fixed-length circ. in 40 and 47 inches. And 2.5 mm and 3.0mm circulars. Hmph.