This man always comes in hurrying and always, vigorously, inspects even the lowest shelves, that is how he found Ruskin’s Stones in Venice.
My wife, he said, she will want these very things. She reads a lot; I, myself, think she is very good, in my considered opinion, she is really very good, my wife. And she will like these Ruskins in a mighty way.
I think you and I, that we, you and I that is, will make her happy, my wife.
Then he went into another room, coming back after a while and said: when she was young, she had the longest hair. And she could always let herself go in her books, I always liked that. You see. Now of course, I must just get something for myself to read. When he returned, he was holding two books out in front of him, volumes of Freud and Descartes and he said: I’m going to get some fun out of these.
He paid for the Ruskin, the Freud and Descartes. He took out a wad of notes, some train tickets and a letter and a Woolworths docket, he showed me all of them and said, regarding the money, here you’d better take some of that.
Then he said: I have in interest in mining history, specifically the history of mining tools, specifically at Burra – the copper mining there and Broken Hill, silver, zinc and lead, I am in fact, writing my own book. Well then, and he laughed loudly, all good isn’t it, and he swung through the door and he, Ruskin, Freud and Descartes, all left together.
Digital sculpture by Chad Knight