Like a Cat in a China Pantry

Had I not been a thorough lubber, I should have remembered half a hundred things worthy of remembrance, which have all been lost, because, though I do indeed know the binnacle from the mainmast, I know little more: tackle and sheets, and tally and belay, are alike to me; and if you ask me about the lee-clue garnets, I can only tell that they are not the same kind of garnets as are worn in necklaces and bracelets; and so fine facts have been lost, because I did not know where to store them in the ship, or in my recollection-closet up-stairs. There is something ridiculous, and something like quackery in writing thus about what I so little understand. I walk among sea terms as a cat does in a china pantry, in bodily fear of doing mischief, and betraying myself; and yet there will come a good book of it, I verily believe.

Robert Southey, letter to Captain Southey, 1812

Photo: ACF

Broadcast ID

The Tantisper Tower

Adam Corbin Fusco is a writer whose fiction has appeared in
The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Realms of Fantasy,
Weird Tales
, and other publications.

In the Foyer

“Wreckers Coast of Northumberland,” J.M.W. Turner

I remember, that at eight years old I walked with him one evening from a farmer’s house, a mile from Ottery — & he told me the names of the stars — and how Jupiter was a thousand times larger than our world — and that the other twinkling stars were Suns that had worlds rolling round them — & when I came home, he showed me how they rolled round. I heard him with profound delight & admiration; but without the least mixture of Wonder or incredulity. For from my early reading of Faery Tales, & Genii etc etc — my mind had been habituated to the Vast.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge