As Janet locked the door behind them, she asked, “Now, James, we need the reference section and anything to do with Arcadia, the classical Arcadian shepherds, or in Latin the words et in Arcadia ego. Just see what you can find.”
James had little idea what she was looking for; he could hardly take his eyes off her short skirt and long legs as she gracefully moved around, searching the rows of books while James put on the main lights.
“No, James, don’t put on any lights. We have reading lights here on the desks. Now can we find something of interest? Look at this old book Idling in Arcadia from 1934. The idea is that there was a time when men and women lived in perfect harmony with nature and with themselves. This was rooted in classical antiquity and was one of the most fertile products of the Renaissance literary and artistic imagination.
“Look, James, here’s a picture of Poussin’s first version of the painting of the Arcadian Shepherds, now in Chatsworth House in England. See the overgrown tomb and the inscription they are reading?” Now she was looking at an engraving on an English estate, called the Shepherds Monument. The wording was the same, Et in arcadia ego, but the figures were clearly in different positions. Someone had proposed that this was an anagram for Tego arcana Dei, which roughly translates in English as ‘I Keep God’s secrets’.
Janet turned to James and whispered in his ear, “Are you able to keep God’s secrets, James?” as if they were in a dream.
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