Our fellow Claude Willan has written a lovely blog post on a slip of paper, and its many doodles, inside one of our commonplace books.
We all doodle. Studies have shown (nb, studies may not actually have shown, but I think they have) that doodling can help you think. But there’s a certain point at which doodling crosses over into daydreaming.
Here in Clark MS 1986.003, Miss Boyes, the second owner of this commonplace book after Catherine Springett, has left us a little slip of paper showing us the fruits of what looks for all the world like a marvellously frittered-away French lesson. (And who hasn’t done that?) Riddles, drawings, all sorts of stuff. Let’s start with this one:
It looks to me like this says ‘s/he who neglects me, loses me’. I’m not 100% sure how this maps on a book in a cage and a bird flying away, and we’re struggling here through the layers of history, Miss. Boyes’s command of French, my own, and the barrier of handwriting in deciphering this scene…
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