..And so, at long last, The Toast came to an end. The great halls and palaces stood silent and deserted, the ballrooms empty save for a thin sprinkling of diamond dust, the harbors and quays abandoned. Only far out on the horizon, grey sails like birds' wings rode the wind to distant shores. All the people had taken to the Sea.
Then suddenly a fire burst forth from the mountain, and The Toast was scorched; and there came a mighty wind and a great tumult of the earth. A great wave rose up above the hills, green and cold and plumed with foam, and the land slid, and The Toast went down into the Sea, with all its towers and its gardens; and all its beauty and its riches, and all its monks' cells and its owls' nests; they vanished for ever.
But far away, out on the Sea, the people wept for their loss, and clung to each other; and in doing so they were comforted, and soon enough they were talking and laughing together. And the ships sailed on.
And what happened next? Well! They had many, many wonderful adventures. But that... is another story.
(GAZES WISELY OVER RIMS OF SPECTACLES, CLOSES HUGE IRON-CLASPED LEATHER BOOK)
I made us a picture.
It is all of us, sailing away to a place where we can stay together forever.
Thank you all so much for this. I felt alive here, I felt like a healthy living person for a while. I wish I had something to give you all, I wish I had really known you, near-friends. Everything goes away, but I think the world must still be a good place. I can't see that most of the time, but sometimes I saw it here with you. Please keep seeing it for me. Keep making the world a good place with each other, as much as you can, for as long as you can. Goodbye all of you. This was such a good place, and I am so glad that we could share it for a little while. Goodbye.
This, then, was the Golden Age of Emotive Flopping Around. Here we see the Wrath of Achilles, as he in his wrath sort of sprawls, and flings his arms out, and lounges, and flops around. The Flopping Around school was well suited for any subject of extreme drama or emotion. Passionate romance? Flopping around. Profound sorrow? Droopily flopping around. Mass warfare? Vast surging crowds of soldiers, all flopping around on each other.
In fact this is easily accounted for. Bilbo heard the Elves singing their silly songs as he and the Dwarves arrived at Rivendell, after an arduous journey through the Wilderland. Keep in mind that Hobbits are passionate smokers, and Bilbo's personal store of pipeweed must have run out long ago.
All of which is to say that Bilbo, who would have had no familiarity with the herb-lore around Rivendell, was very likely scavenging any likely-looking weed along the path and smoking it in heedless desperation. He smoked dragontail fern; he smoked wraithweed; he smoked orcwort; he smoked spiderbite moss; he smoked Wargsbane; he smoked Yavanna's Tears; He smoked Mithril Haze; he smoked Eriador Gold. Bilbo was therefore plainly stoned to the gills when he staggered into Rivendell, eyes as glazed as a palantir, seeing Elves up in the trees singing "Tra-la-la-lally!" and taunting him about his gut.
We know that his account of the journey is unreliable in certain respects, and written with an eye toward the entertainment of Hobbit-children. All things considered, it's not surprising that he saw no need to mention the several days he spent in Rivendell sweating through withdrawl.
He probably should have steered clear of those luminous barrowshade mushrooms, too; but, you know, Hobbits.
I suppose I must be in a Tolkien book, then. Because I'm glad that you're all here with me, here at the end of all things.
That top picture, "Dog Watching Cheesecake," is the visual equivalent of "Theme from Jaws."
The De Lesseps were a singular lineage, indeed.
Look, it is unreasonable to assume that all nations and eras should have the same approach to anthropomorphism. Obviously France was still struggling with the concept at that time, but the allegory seems plain enough. Here is a girl who is so improvident that she is gallivanting around with nothing but a scarf. But now it is autumn, as testified by the fading foliage, and how will she make it through the cruel French winter with only a gauzy wrap from Lavello? This image was probably one of a diptych, the other featuring a smug-looking young woman warmly ensconced in a vast puffy fur-lined Burberry winter coat.
Artistically, the image isn't too different from the "furry" art of our own time. All she needs is a small set of antennae and a giant throbbing ovipositor.
"Lord love me, I’m a follower"
By the next harvest moon, the Wild Hunt had a new, even more terrifying leader.