I have just noticed that Archbishop Lefebvre and Father Frederick Faber had, by etymology and meaning, the same surname. Effectively, both of them were called Smith. Appropriately enough – they were both craftsmen who built things to last. Habent sua fata, as I have said before, nomina.

I remember a long time ago a sensible sub-editor coming up to me with a book in his hand, called ‘Mr. Smith’, or ‘The Smith Family’, or some such thing.  He said, ‘Well, you won’t get any of your damned mysticism out of this,’ or words to that effect.  I am happy to say that I undeceived him; but the victory was too obvious and easy.  In most cases the name is unpoetical, although the fact is poetical.  In the case of Smith, the name is so poetical that it must be an arduous and heroic matter for the man to live up to it.  The name of Smith is the name of the one trade that even kings respected, it could claim half the glory of that arma virumque which all epics acclaimed.  The spirit of the smithy is so close to the spirit of song that it has mixed in a million poems, and every blacksmith is a harmonious blacksmith.

Even the village children feel that in some dim way the smith is poetic, as the grocer and the cobbler are not poetic, when they feast on the dancing sparks and deafening blows in the cavern of that creative violence.  The brute repose of Nature, the passionate cunning of man, the strongest of earthly metals, the weirdest of earthly elements, the unconquerable iron subdued by its only conqueror, the wheel and the ploughshare, the sword and the steam-hammer, the arraying of armies and the whole legend of arms, all these things are written, briefly indeed, but quite legibly, on the visiting-card of Mr. Smith.  Yet our novelists call their hero ‘Aylmer Valence’, which means nothing, or ‘Vernon Raymond’, which means nothing, when it is in their power to give him this sacred name of Smith, this name made of iron and flame.  It would be very natural if a certain hauteur, a certain carriage of the head, a certain curl of the lip, distinguished every one whose name is Smith.  Perhaps it does; I trust so.  Whoever else are parvenus, the Smiths are not parvenus.  From the darkest dawn of history this clan has gone forth to battle; its trophies are on every hand; its name is everywhere; it is older than the nations, and its sign is the Hammer of Thor   (G.K. Chesterton, in ‘Heretics’.)


(I know that Brompton Oratory didn’t look like that in Faber’s lifetime. But he is still the man behind it.)

https://i0.wp.com/i22.photobucket.com/albums/b346/Cardamomaddict/Dairy%20and%20Eggs/060304Stilton.jpgToday must have been a vigil of Tuesday. Never mind! I have been recently supplied with the following: Laphroaig (10-y-o), item, one piece of extremely grown-up Stilton, item, one packet of oatcakes, item,  one box of Lapsang Souchong, item, one pack of almost Scotch broth mix (wasn’t clear enough in phone conversation with progenitor as he stood in a Central Belt Tesco’s dried peas aisle).  Oh yes. Now just need to make arrangements with J. from this site, and we can have a loooong and pleasantly glowing chat about anything and everything. She talks more than I do, a rare distinction 🙂 Oh the joy of looooooooong conversations! Today I missed a lecture, and that the only one of any relevance at all to my (still existentially expressing finite potency) thesis, because Aged Ancestor and I began chatting over our post-prandial tea about the possible reason for the late veridity of the poplar across the road and ended up on the identity of the Evangelists. I have these comprehensive exams in church history and fundamental theology two or three or four times a week; fortunately the questions are  usually recycled, but it makes it all the more obvious that the answers sought are not those the questions require.

This is turning into a diary blog, innit? must pull socks up.


Some classicist has some of these. I remind you of an earlier effort posted on this ‘umble blog. And, of course, Chaucer’s lolpilgrims are worth a neb, if you have not already seen them.


(now I will go and attempt to rescue the remains of the day)