In the back portion of the shop is a book shelf, and that book shelf of course contains, among its otherwise odd melange, the book Moby Dick; and happening to peruse the second chapter of that work during an especially slow summer workday this last week, I came across the name Dives with which I was totally unfamiliar (despite having read this same chapter multiple times):

Euroclydon. Euroclydon! says old Dives, in his red silken wrapper- (he had a redder one afterwards) pooh, pooh! What a fine frosty night; how Orion glitters; what northern lights! Let them talk of their oriental summer climes of everlasting conservatories; give me the privilege of making my own summer with my own coals.

Euroclydon is one of those names I presume I won’t ever know, and, having learned, will shortly forget. But Dives, it turns out, is Latin for rich man and is the name informally given to a rich man in a parable in the Gospel of Luke.

The gist of the parable is that a rich man gives no attention to the suffering of a poor man in life but in the after life their positions are reversed. In Moby Dick, Melville imaginatively compares the poor man (“Lazarus”) to a person experiencing a cold night while outside in it, and the rich man, Dives, to one experiencing a cold night from a cozy area inside.

Anyway — Dives (two syllables.)


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