I am finally on track for entering my manuscript revisions on The Sea May Burn! I've been having to do a little bit of supplemental research on setting, maps, etc., and last week I was double-checking some info about the Rye town clock.
The Rye town clock looks like this:
As you can see, it features two little cupid quarter-boys (also called quarter-jacks, and meaning automatons who strike the quarter-hour), along with the quote "For our time is a very shadow that passeth away."
I also, while trying to find out more about the church at Rye for French refugee fishermen, discovered that I've apparently been using a similar guidebook for my research as Thackeray, and that in fact our processes for writing historical fiction have a lot in common, which makes me feel more validated for my absurd process than it should, because Thackeray was an absolutely FORMATIVE creative influence on me as a teen, despite my intense ambivalence towards him. I can't tell you how many times I reread History of Henry Esmond and how many hours I spent on my truly terrible Beatrix Esmond time-travel fix-it fic.
(It meant something to Virginia Woolf too, so don't @ me--a desire to see the original manuscript, to figure out his process for creating the "hamper[ing]" "affectation" of a historical voice, is the inciting incident of "A Room of One's Own".)
(Not to mention his true life story giving us the classic Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle trope used to such effect by Cat Sebastian in The Ruin of a Rake.)
Here is a passage from an annotated Complete Works [Google Books]:
That passage about the refugees sounds awfully familiar, I said to myself, and checked my good old Crosby's Complete Pocket Gazetteer. Sure enough:
ME TOO, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE. ME TOO.
Oh. I guess I also maybe named the Makepeace Coffeehouse after him. 🤭
"Though his investigation added not twenty lines to the story and no 'interest' whatever".....DON'T CALL ME OUT LIKE THIS, ANONYMOUS CORNHILL MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR!
And I, most amazing of all, discovered that the Rye church also has a GIANT PENDULUM that swings back and forth over your head when you enter the building as a further reminder that time is a shadow that passeth away, &c., &c. It sounds very very silly but to my surprise it's actually extremely emotionally effective, or at least ominous as hell. Watch a video here [link goes to Flickr].
Hang in there! Your week's half over. ♥