Dear reader: I should tell you that I’m not “friends” with these people. But one day, without reason or root, this is what popped up on my Facebook stream.
Michelangelo Buonarroti: I’ve just arrived in Rome and been told by Pope Julius II of a change of (his) plans. He wants me to stop work on the sepulchral monument he’d commissioned earlier and get to work with earnest on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I’m a sculptor, not a painter, I told him, but it appears as though I’ll have to drop the chisel, at least, for now, and pick up the brush. This Florentino is annoyed.
—Vatican City, Italy
Leonardo da Vinci: I’m not so sure about what Jesus Christ would’ve liked on his platter, but I’m going to go ahead and put on his plate a dish we’re all a fan of: eel, garnished with slices of orange.
Charles Darwin: Thank you, for all for the “bon voyage” wishes. As I pen this, I’m on the deck of the H.M.S. Beagle, headed out to the stormy seas. My Internet connection is very feeble and fickle, but I shall, from time to time, attempt to recount, in brief, the natural wonders that greet me.
Arthur Conan Doyle: Amid the bustle of waiters, chink of fine silver and the hum of a dozen conversations, I’m seated at a table in the opulent dining room of the Langham Hotel, awaiting the arrival of an American gentleman named Joseph Stoddart, who runs the Lippincott’s Monthly, a Philadelphia magazine. He’s in town to establish a British edition of his publication. The other invitee is one Mr. Oscar Wilde.
—Upper Regent Street, London
Ludwig van Beethoven: Fine. I could be a mercurial and slovenly man, but can you blame me? I can’t even hear my own compositions.
Queen Victoria: For their loyal and dedicated service, I’m bequeathing to my servants, all the pairs of bloomers that have graced my bottoms.
—Buckingham Palace, London
Marie Curie: Sliding open my desk drawer, I see a faint greenish glow emanating from my test tubes. As you know (or perhaps not know), I made something of a discovery back on December 21, 1898. God willing, I hope it’ll be put to good use.
Antony van Leeuwenhoek: I’m at my workshop, penning a letter to the Royal Society of London, describing my observations on what I found in the lake water, the other day: green, serpent-like streaks, spirally wound. Their whole circumference was about the thickness of a hair of one’s head.
—Delft, The Netherlands
Plato: Thinking about how I’ll open The Republic, while I’m sitting under a plane tree, beside a quiet stream.
Mahatma Gandhi: I hope many of you will join me in making the long, long trek to Dandi and making our own salt, without paying tax. Please ensure that you’re in your best walking shoes.
—Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, India