ONE OF THE most remarkable answers to a question that I know of had its setting in Paris more than a century ago. A young man was found walking in the Palais-Royal, leading a lobster on the end of a blue ribbon. When asked what he was up to, the stroller replied:
In what way is a lobster more ridiculous than a dog, a cat, a gazelle, a lion, or any other creature which might be made to follow one? I prefer lobsters who are quiet, serious, know the secrets of the deep, do not bark nor destroy one's unity like dogs.
Like all good replies, this one has many facets; it has about it something of the piercing quality of revelation, a strong unearthly supersanity. It illuminates both subject and personality.
The speaker on this occasion was Gérard de Nerval, a writer and poet of wayward genius, "esprit bizarre