One of the more curious passages from my recent reading (which includes Czech novellas, archaeology textbooks, developments in neuroscience, and a truly heartbreaking work of staggering genius). From Dr Johnson's Dictionary, by Henry Hitchings:
During the years in which Johnson worked on the Dictionary, [William] Strahan was his paymaster, acted as his unofficial banker, franked his letters, and even periodically provided him with breakfast. Johnson visited frequently; he found his printer good and generous company. Strahan was a warm host, and an unaffected one. He and his wife had an impressive library of unusual books; occasionally these were lent to Johnson, and we know that one of the volumes he borrowed was a recent treatise on the tranquillizing powers of opium by a Scottish doctor called George Young. Besides, there were more immediately analgesic rewards to be had from visiting the Strahans' home. In the courtyard stood a lime tree which Johnson, in moments of abstraction, liked to hug.
And in praise of synchronicity, in the next paragraph, speaking of Johnson's lodgings at 17 Gough Square, Hitchings casually mentions something that the Zombie saw:
A solidly built William and Mary property, five bays wide and five storeys high, it now houses a small, well-run museum, cowering behind the offices of the American investment bank Goldman Sachs. In the cobbled square outside there is a modern statue of Johnson's cat Hodge, for whom he loved to buy oysters. The life-size bronze, shaded by an acacia tree, shows Hodge sitting at stroking height on the Dictionary -- a perpetual reminder of Johnson's magisterial achievement, and of his more affectionate side.