Ein eisig kalt Büro

But he had never in his life—nor had anyone he knew—worked or slept in a room that was not exceedingly cold.

—Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower. The person described is Fritz von Hardenberg, in a cold room at Tennstedt in Saxony one day in the 1790s. I thought of him as I sat in my exceedingly cold office today, watching thick flurries of wind-blown snow alternate with brilliant sunshine.

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