And music shall untune the sky: happy birthday, Olivia!

Poor dear, I give her some pretty uncelebratory celebrations in the current book. But happy negative one-hundred-and-thirty!

I did not pick this date for her birthday because of the assassination of JFK, or the birth of Charles de Gaulle, Abigail Adams or Hoagy Carmichael, or the death of Blackbeard the Pirate, or the resignation of Margaret Thatcher, or any of the other myriad events of this day, but because it’s the feast day of St. Cecilia, patroness of music, and that seemed fateful given George’s avocation.

Sharp violins proclaim 
Their jealous pangs, and desperation, 
Fury, frantic indignation, 
Depth of pains and height of passion, 
For the fair, disdainful dame.

as John Dryden has it in “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day.” It is of course completely unfair to have her advent into the world defined by her eventual choice of mate, but she makes the day her own perfectly well. So I don’t feel guilty sending you off to listen to a piece of music she listened (not passively) to George playing with Hector Armitage and colleagues, Haydn’s opus 20 number 4 quartet, first movement. Enjoy!


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