Literary Inspirations - 12 Nov 2008

1809, in a large country house in Derbyshire, we enter halfway through the scene:

Chater: I have heard of your admiration, sir! You insulted my wife in the gazebo yesterday evening!

Septimus: You are mistaken. I made love to your wife in the gazebo. She asked me to meet her there, I have her note somewhere, I dare say I could find it for you, and if someone is putting it about that I did not turn up, by God, sir, it is a slander.

Chater: You damned lecher! You would drag down a lady's reputation to make a refuge for your cowardice. It will not do! I am calling you out!

Septimus: Chater! Chater, Chater, Chater! My dear friend!

Chater: You dare to call me that. I demand satisfaction!

Septimus: Mrs Chater demanded satisfaction and now you are demanding satisfaction. I cannot spend my time day and night satisfying the demands of the Chater Family. As for your wife's reputation, it stands where it ever stood.

Chater: You blackguard!

Septimus: I assure you. Mrs Chater is charming and spirited, with a pleasing voice and a dainty step, she is the epitome of all the qualities society applauds in her sex - and yet her chief renown is for a readiness that keeps her in a state of tropical humidity as would grow orchids in her drawers in January!

-Tom Stoppard, Arcadia, 1993


  1. Wow what an amazing passage, I love it! I must find more of this wit and humour - a trip to Borders today is a must!

  2. I'll be reviewing this book on Sunday - one of the best books I've read in a long time!