Flaubert in India

I have no delusions about this blog. Visitors are always welcome but relatively sparse. Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed lots of exchanges in the comments sections and made new friends as a result. However, my recent acknowledgement that among those visitors were gentlemen (invariably gentlemen rather than ladies), who wear dark suits, sunglasses and spend much of their time being furtive, did cause a spike in the visitor graphs. It’s a tribute to their professionalism, however, that the link between my coming out as Freda Dirge and a sudden influx of 36 clearly linked strangers in a 29 hour period is difficult to establish.

The link was that they were all from India and every single one of them arrived through a google portal seeking information about Charles Bovary’s cap (which featured in a blog last November). OK, that would be understandable if they were all from more or less the same place. It would simply mean that a single teacher had set a particular essay topic and her/his class had googled it. But these visits were from Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and several other, smaller places and I’d love to know why they all, suddenly, on that particular day, needed to know about an absurd item of clothing in a 19th century French novel. I’ll probably never know but I could get several stories out of speculating about it. The chances that any of them read any more of the blog than they needed to are minimal but, just in case, if any of you are still here, would you like to tell me what prompted the visits? By the way, there was not a single visit from anyone in Langley, Virginia. Well, none that was recorded anyway. They probably already know about Charles Bovary.

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