Thursday, 16 June 2011

memory, and forgetting V

"That was Macaulay," she said, "the historian. He just made it up after the event. The people gave it the other name years before they had any cause for weeping."

"Is that the Macaulay who wrote 'Horatio at the Bridge'?", I asked, trying hard to remember the poems of distant high school.

"Yes," she said. "The same one. He was one of those people who went through history picking and choosing and embellishing." She paused. "Still, I guess when you look at it now, one meaning can be true and the other can be accurate."

"Where did you say you come from?"

"Oh," I said, startled by the simplicity or complexity of the question. "From Cape Breton"

Cape Breton


"Perhaps that's why he became so interested in history," she went on. "He felt if you read everything and put the pieces all together the real truth would emerge. It would be, somehow, like carpentry. Everything would fit together just so, and you would see in the end something like a perfect building called the past. Perhaps he felt if he couldn't understand his immediate past, he would try and understand his distant past"

All of us are better when we're loved.

From No Great Mischief, by Alistair MacLeod