Picked up a Terry Pratchett off my paperback shelf today pretty much at random — The Nightwatch, one of the Vimes strand. It’s one of my less-read ones, meaning maybe twice, possibly even three times, but not more. I just idly flipped it open and looked over the first couple of pages,,,and came to this little digression:
The plain old Sam Vimes had fought back. He got rid of most of the plumes and the stupid tights, and ended up with a dress niform that at least looked as thought its owner was male. But the helmet had gold decoration, and the bespoke armorers had made a new gleaming breastplate with useless gold ornamentation on it.
Sam Vimes felt like a class traitor every time he wore it. He hated being thought of as one of those people that wore stupid ornamental armor. It was gilt by association.
There’s my Terry! — and why I miss him so. His brain bubbles were the best, and he had absolutely no shame — none at all — when it came to transcribing whatever floated to the surface. I tell my son more often than he cares to hear that words are toys. Pratchett had more fun with the English language than anyone else I can think of. I take him as a role model (as my students — and family — know, to their sorrow).
As I warned — apropos of not much at all.
Image: Titian, Philip II of Spain, 1551.