This creates an unbidden picture in my mind of chasing a laughing, breathless nun, her habit flying, over green grass.
I'm honored, and it's kind of a cool meme: the Page 123 Book Meme. (Is there some significance to the number?)
1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
The absolutely nearest book to me was The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition. The next nearest, and seemingly more interesting, is George Stubbs 1724-1806, the catalogue of a 1984 exhibition at the Tate Gallery. (Here is a brand-new, more comprehensive catalog raisonné of the artist's work.) Stubbs was a great 18th-century painter and anatomist of horses, dogs, and exotic animals who painstakingly dissected horse and tiger carcasses in order to paint the living animals more accurately. (His last project, which somewhat anticipated Darwin, was a comparative study of the skeletons of chicken, tiger, and human, which revealed many uncanny similarities.) His portrait from life of a tigress that had been given to George Spencer, the fourth Duke of Marlborough (and a great great great greatgreatgreatgreat uncle of Princess Diana) by Lord Clive, the governor of Bengal, may have been seen by a twelve-year-old William Blake and inspired his famous poem The Tyger. (Yikes, when I go back to the Google Books page for Blake and Tradition by Kathleen Raine to find you the Blake story just linked, the first thing I see is that the reproduction of Stubbs' tiger painting is Plate 123. Anchoress said the Holy Spirit would be busy around this one; there is an air of bibliomancy about it.)
(This image is not actually the first painting from life, which you can see here, but one of two variations on it that Stubbs painted from his sketchbook of studies later.)
Chicago Manual actually being a few inches closer, Stubbs is cheating, so I'll have my cake and eat it too by doing them both.
p. 123 of Stubbs features an oval enamel on Wedgwood painting called Sleeping Leopard. It so happens that as I open the book, Rainy is asleep next to me in the identical position. The left column of the page is all documentation of the size, medium, provenance, and so on of the painting; it's almost all in sentence fragments. The first actual complete sentence is at the bottom of the left column. So counting from that, I find the fifth sentence, which is the fourth one in the right-hand column. The next three sentences:
The position of the impressed mark Wedgwood, at the very edge, where all the lower sections of the letters are lost, further indicates that the oval was cut out of a larger dish; the nature of the mark and the colour of the glaze indicate a date in the late 1760s for its manufacture.
The smallness of this oval also makes it unlikely to have been purposely made by Wedgwood for Stubbs, since one of Stubbs' principal intentions in asking Wedgwood to make plaques for him was that he wished to secure larger panels for his enamels than was possible with copper. All the evidence suggests that the 'Sleeping Leopard' was painted by Stubbs as a morceau de reception to demonstrate the possibilities of painting in enamel on Queen's Ware.
*shrug* If there's any message, it's in code. There's a definite cat connection, though. And the link at "morceau de reception," which I had to look up because I didn't know what it meant, is downright subversive. It's about a woman artist violating the rules of what women were allowed to paint. Blake's Tyger, let us not forget, may have been a tygress.
On to The Chicago Manual of Style.
The next three sentences after the fifth full sentence:
All such agreements, though, need to be modified to reflect the particular allocation of responsibilities between editor and contributors. Alternatively, in appropriate circumstances, publishers can use simpler forms (such as that in fig. 4.3), closer in style to journal author forms (see fig. 4.2). Finally, it is possible to use work-made-for-hire agreements for all these persons, although that is the least common solution.
I tag True Ancestor, Althouse (when she gets back from traveling), Brunobaby, Jew Eat Yet?, and Internet Ronin. I always want to break the rules and put out an "open tag" (if you want to do it, consider yourself tagged) because I have lots more than five people whose answers I want to hear. So if you're tempted, go ahead, transgress.