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Nomen mutabilia sunt; the forbidden table. not strange.

      “In accordance with which,” said Fourchette, “in the matter before us, we shall see what is set down here in the matter of names.” Drawing closer to him a loaf-shaped book concealed until now by the black folds of his sleeves, he began puttering at its pages. “Nomen collectivum ... generale ...” he muttered to himself, and for what seemed minutes fell still. Silence covered us, the long, shared public silence, a canopy upheld by participants who dare not, until the signal, lower their arms.
      “Ah,” said Fourchette. He pushed the book from him and at the same time snapped on the light at the lectern. In its arc the eye of the clerk blinked, patient and uncynical, the farthest figure in a hold picture, but still drawn in along the mater painter’s invisible radial lines.
      “Names are mutable, things immovable,” said Fourchette. He poked a finger over the rostrum...
      “Nomen mutabilia sunt,” he said... “res autem immobilis.” He fell silent again before he gave out the reference... “Six, Coke, sixty-six.”

At home, though her mother could not eat, May ate heartily. Rosily cool, tonight she would neither cry nor suffer, in order to let her mother make amends. Afterwards, she was taken into her mother’s bed — for comfort — but though she submitted to being held hard against that yearning, nursing body, she did not relent. After a bit, she crawled out, toddled softly away and was heard puttering in the studio, on the forbidden table.

... But my father, strangely enough, as you might think, for a man who is always reassuring people that he and they have “all the time in the world,” is already up and about, puttering in the kitchen for himself, as he loves to do. Not strange.

all Hortense Calisher —

  1. False Entry (1961) : 182
    borrowable at archive.org : link
  2. Textures of Life (1963) : 223
    borrowable at archive.org : link
  3. “Time, Gentlemen!” in The Collected Stories of Hortense Calisher (1975) : 165-176 (168)
    borrowable at archive.org : link

Hortense Calisher (1911-2009)
wikipedia : link

Hortense Calisher (obituary)
“A prolific New York author, she more than made up for a late start”
Christopher Hawtree, The Guardian (25 March 2009) : link

16 November 2023