I was walking home when the skies opened. Rain and sleet came lashing down. I could not make it without getting completely soaked. Buying an umbrella was an option. A cup of tea was another option. I was passing the Eglise Saint-Merri so I dashed in and sat down for a few minutes just to be out of the weather. There are always people sitting in churches. A friend of mine used to go into any open church to meditate. Another is able to take a quick restorative nap while sitting up. No doubt some people are praying. Many homeless people spend the day inside churches, especially in winter. I was happy to be out of the weather. The church was not warm but it was nice to be dry while I decided what my next move would be.
The wooden chairs each had an S and an M and a small cross burned into the back of the chair. The cross was after the S so that it made the St. abbreviation for Saint even though Saint-Merri is never written with the abbreviation St. It always has the word Saint and a hyphen and then Merri. There were hundreds of chairs with these letters burned into the backs. I sat in the church for long enough to marvel at the enormous amount of extra work this entailed. It was not like anyone was going to steal the chairs. As always they are all attached along the bottom by pieces of wood so that one long row of chairs would need to be stolen just to get one. I am pretty sure that the branding iron or whatever sort of heated tool made the letters was made as one piece, rather than separate letters. It was rolled across the rounded back of the chair. Sometimes the heat or the pressure was uneven so one letter looks darker than another. EVH