18 December 2010

18 December - Ember Day; O Adonai; Saki (H. H. Munro)

Today is the third Ember Day of this quarter.  The weather today traditionally foretells the weather for March.  Bright, clear skies, and chilly air in the smallest state.
Today the Antiphon is "O Adonai", in which we ask the Lord of All to come quickly and save us with his justice [his justice, not the world's]:

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, 
Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, 
come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!  
This is the birthday of my favorite author, Hector Hugh Munro, who wrote delightfully wicked stories under the pen name 'Saki'.

He was born in Burma in 1870, but at the early death of his mother, and his father being posted to India, he and his brother and sister were left in England to be brought up under the care of his paternal grandmother and aunts, whose characters can be seen in Sredni Vashtar, The Lumber Room, and The Sex That Doesn't Shop.  Like Conradin, he was always rather sickly.

You can read his sister's biography of him here and Wikipedia's article here.  Sadly, he was killed by a sniper's bullet in the trenches of World War I on 13 November 1916.  Oh, to think of all the stories that were never written.

Meanwhile, dull winter afternoons are a good time to curl up with the likes of Reginald and Clovis Sangrail, and meet the not-quite truthful Mrs Packletide (Mrs. Packletide's Tiger) and the all-too-truthful Woman Who Told the Truth.  Enjoy the 'peaceful' English countryside in The Peace of Mowsle Barton and The Blood-feud of Toadwater, with further side trips into the uncanny with Tobermory and Gabriel-Ernest.  In honor of the season, get tips on Christmas presents from "Down Pens" and Reginald on Christmas Presents, and enjoy Christmas revelry with Bertie's Christmas Eve and A Touch of Realism.

I've often wished to be Lady Carlotta teaching The Schartz-Metterklume Method, or Mrs. Pentherby (Excepting Mrs. Pentherby) who said horrible things in a matter-of-fact innocent way, and matter-of-fact innocent things in a horrible way, or had the story-telling ability of the niece in The Open Window or the bachelor in The Story-Teller.  You can read all of these and more, including stories that were never collected in books, here.  If you have never read Saki, now is a good time to start.