We drove right past a book lying in the middle of a three lane road this afternoon. It was straddling two lanes, so I thought we could turn around and grab it, no problem. When I told Anna my plan I was sure eyes would roll. I do nonsensical things like this on impulse. But I like it for the variety it can add to the moment. It's just not always polite to make someone else go along with my impulses. Anna is long-suffering...
I turned the car around to get the book and here is where the plot thickened. I said, "It's probably a Dickens' novel." I then shared a story with Anna about an army general in the 1860's who wrote to Dickens while he was out fighting Indians and Texans in the West. I shared the story as a way to offer some sort of distraction for Anna while we were headed back to pick up what was probably a New World Bible.
The Dickens story in itself is a good one. The army general, an aspiring novelist, wanted to visit Dickens in London if he ever came over to discuss writing advice. So he asked Dickens in a letter. The amazing thing, I thought, was Dickens wrote back. The general received the letter out on his Indian campaign and was probably put out to have Dickens advise him to stay home and write about home. And as for visiting him, Dickens said no. As an aside, it was this same army general, James Carleton, who was sent to survey and report on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He never recovered from the experience and retired from his campaigns out West haunted from the brutality of frontier life.
By this time we had arrived at the book. Checking my rear view I saw it was safe to slow down and I opened my door to pick up the book. And there, laying in the middle of the road in the desert out West was "A Tale of Two Cities."