This honest man, Obadiah Shawcross, who went his life as a coachman,
Took roads, produced offspring, contributed, built.
Was subject to the human condition, declined.
Went as a humble witness to the city’s efficiency,
All can be used, nothing need not be,
And the years of Obadiah Shawcross were seventy-seven,
And he was not, because God took him.
—But, my friend, I do not understand!
There is nothing to suggest any foul play, unless they have been most cunning…
—See here, the stone is set in the ground well enough, it cannot have been shifted from its position in recent times.
If I betrayed any sign of my thoughts that we — I — had been taken on a fools’ errand, and I suspect that I did, I now sincerely apologise. I should not have doubted my friend.
While I stood there in a confusion of misconstruction, others of the party were ahead of me in their understanding. Certainly for the Superintendent of the Norwood Cemetery some nugget of old lore must have returned to his mind, since his eyes twinkled, and he chuckled a little.
—Ah sir, I catch your drift.
When we are taking tea in his rooms, his face shows the strain, and he is rueful. Though he is also more comfortable now, and can make a joke of it.
—Had he been a Joseph or a John, or a Matthew or a Mark, it would have taken us a little longer. That much we were presented by fortune.
He gives out something next of his thought-process, which of course I am careful to note down.
—I fell to considering the city, and how nothing of the cramped and teeming landscape has not been acted upon, how ancient activities, farming and medieval trades have left their mark, a hidden anatomy of the land.
Only faintly remaining, we take for granted and assume immutability, which we should never do.
How the city was not always the same,
So secure yesterday, and that may change today.
And even that the passage itself of the box is an emblem for the march of civilisation; its movement submerged, clandestine, but most evident, and most certain, if viewed and reviewed with time.
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When No One is Looking by Hannah Shilling is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.