These are the sayings of S. Francis, beloved Founder and Sage of The SToPP Watch. Sadly the two manuscripts in which they were originally preserved are riddled with lacunae. The “Hamilton Manuscript” [HM] — believed to be the original autograph — was damaged in a flood and is missing many pages, including the last few chapters, where the “Lord Elglin Manuscript” [LEM] — a copy sent to a late personal friend of S. Francis — was partially burned in a fire and is missing the first few chapters.
This document attempts to reconstruct the sayings from what we have that survives with a critical apparatus and will be continually updated and re-published as more progress is made.
Sigla: Portions that were difficult to read or have been reconstructed are marked with brackets.
From the opening:
Since time immemorial, humanity has sought to count the hours. From birth we tally our years with pride; with death, our days are numbered. Time in this sense is of the es[se]nce: Our es[sence.]
Quotes scribbled into the margins:
Time flies furthest from us when we adorn ourselves with the viscera of its servitors.
If time is money, then a fine watch is priceless and a ruined watch a debt.
We must make up for lost time now before our own time is up.
The Goose Pericope: (Portions of this account were consistently damaged down one edge of the manuscript.)
On my way home from a recent long, and weary travel, I came across something that truly caused me to ma[rvel.] In the midst of the thick traffic of the evening on the throughfare with many automobiles spiriting by, th[ere was] a sudden throng of congestion, no fewer than three or four lengths ahead of my own vehicle. It was at tha[t time] that I noticed, off on the shoulder of the roadway that there was a gander, frantically trying to walk its wa[y onto] the road, risking his own life with the oncoming flow of wheels and exhaust. Where some of my fellow hi[ghway] pilots took note to slow down, others did not seem to care, as if to conclude that it was only a bird a[nd that its] life was not worth the bother of avoiding it.
After about six or seven times the poor thing was nearly dest[royed, it] was then that the congestion ahead of me began to move, albeit slowly — and it was then that I notic[ed what] had the gander’s full attention: Another goose stood in the middle of the road, her breast buffeted and h[er] d[own] askew on one side as if she were struck. She was limping about confused and pitiful, separated by a s[teady] stream of moving metal cages, with little chance of survival, and yet the gander continued to try and th[row] himself in harm’s way to get to her. It was then that I remembered that out of all the local fowl, gees[e are among] those who mate for life. These two must have been mates.
Despite how much of a nuisance we tend to se[e geese,] and how often they adorn our dinner tables as sustenance, they are creatures who — like us — have a con[cept of] past, present, and future. In essence: The sense of sharing time with loved ones through adversity is not u[nique] to human beings. It is part of the essence of being alive, and minding the time that we have together, no mat[ter] what the cost.