Through A Glass Darkly

     I recall reading  about the life of Charles VI of France in I Commentarii  (by Enea Silvio Piccolomini). Although VI on the roman numeral scale, he was better known as Mad Charles by his adoring fans. Although it could have been worse. Ethelred’s The Unready moniker can’t have been much of an ego boost.
    On the subject of Roman Numerals  – which we weren’t – I recall my associate Blenkinsopp relating the following story. Apparently he had posted his Aunt Agatha a brass banana-peeler to her summer residence in Georgia (part of the American colonies) when a week later the following encounter occurred. Following a ringing of the doorbell, he promptly opened the aforementioned portal to have the fortune to meet that man of letters, Mr. Witherspoon, the friendly neighbourhood postman. Unfortunately, Witherspoon also had a suspiciously banana-shaped package hard at heel. Mr. Witherspoon explained that according to the note attached to the package, the labour-saving device could not be accepted over the border due to the fact that the address was written using Arabic Numerals (presumably to spot any post from the middle east) Obviously, among the luxuries exported was not an education system.

Mafia Accountancy

Mafia Accountancy

     As I was saying, Charles VI apparently, was a bit of a square egg. He sometimes didn’t recognise his family and would run around the corridors of his palace howling like a wolf. His crown size was 7¼ incidentally.
     More bizarrely, he became convinced that he was made of glass and needed to be held together with bits of wood, and iron rods  to stop him from shattering.[ear trumpet material here… http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/podcasts/ It must have been a handy skill, if you’d dropped your keys, assuming of course he believed it was transparent glass. Perhaps it was a fetching burgundy Ghiaccio as favoured by the venitians. I don’t expect you’d see him hogging the central spot affront the hearth. Pretty handy though for lightning a fire, using the magnifying power if his thumb. I suppose he was really thinking of the fragility downside. These days he’d probably be seen running down the street, chase by a crowd of children, dressed in his bubblewrap suit.

one i prepared earlier

one i prepared earlier

     In 1561 account reported a sufferer “who had to relieve himself standing up, fearing that if he sat down his buttocks would shatter… The man concerned was a glass-maker from the Parisian suburb of Saint Germain, who constantly applied a small cushion to his buttocks, even when standing. He was cured of this obsession by a severe thrashing from the doctor, who told him that his pain emanated from buttocks of flesh.”http://wapedia.mobi/en/The_Glass_Delusion

     Further Reading “Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Papa Pio II), I Commentarii, ed. L. Totaro, Milano, 1984, I, p. 1056”.

Slightly Foxed

Slightly Foxed


2 Responses to “Through A Glass Darkly”

  1. July 9, 2009 at 2:23 am


    This is a most edifying piece. The supposition, by most, is that the sufferers are quite insane. However, that is often not so. My uncle (mon oncle) was unfortunate enough to be seeking sanctuary in the darkened cupboard of a kitchen, whereupon he was dragged out from said cupboard and dropped to the floor by none other than Jacques Tati. He smashed into small shards and was promptly brushed aside by the boot of Monsieur Tati, who was obviously under the distinct impression my uncle would bounce. By the way my hat size is 7 and 3/4.

  2. 2 dandymills
    July 15, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I have heard about the magical powers of Monsieur J. Tati’s boots. Apparently they were the first pair of boots to swim the English Channel, and famously were experimental test piloted Mangeur d’odeur. I did not need to know the size of your hat to realise that you are a fathead.

    Yours Erasmus

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