There is a short and moving story, written by Rudyard Kipling called ‘The Gardener.’ First published in 1925, it is the tale of Helen Turrell, a well-off respectable woman of country stock, and Michael. Though Michael is, ostensibly Helen’s nephew, she lets him call her ‘Mummy’ at bedtime, by way of a “pet-name between themselves.” Helen fears that he might reject her, when, aged ten, Michael got the idea that his civil status was “not quite regular,” but instead their bond grows tighter. Michael realises after all that there were plenty of his sort in English history.
is to my regret, as a student of classics, that I have taken so long to read the meditations of the Roman Emperor and philosopher, Marcus Aurelius. Partly because they are a rather well-known and interesting piece of classical literature that I somehow managed miss while at university, but mainly because I would have found them useful insights as I started to navigate my way through the modern day world of work.
Have you ever been to a quiet, peaceful and unexciting place and pictured it in your mind as the scene of a colossal disaster? This is the imaginative journey that Sir George Tomkyns Chesney was inviting his readers to make with his 1871 novella The Battle of Dorking. As a high-ranking army officer with a keen interest in politics, he had become concerned about the fragility of Britain’s defences and the complacency of the British public at a time of turbulence in Europe and he decided that creative fiction was the means by which to sound his warning.