The horses started up, amid farewells and hand-wavings from the bystanders; and then, as Frau Chauchat sank smilingly back against the cushions of the sleigh, her eyes swept the facade of the Berghof, and rested for the fraction of a second upon Hans Castorp’s face. In pallid haste he sought his loggia, thence to get a last glimpse of the sleigh as it went jingling down the drive toward the Dorf. Then he flung himself into his chair…
The silhouette of a moving cat wavered across the moonlight and turning my head to watch it I saw that I was not alone—fifty feet away a figure had emerged from the shadow of my neighbor’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars.
Who will go drive with Fergus now, And pierce the deep wood’s woven shade, And dance upon the level shore? Young man, lift up your russet brow, And lift your tender eyelids, maid, And brood on hopes and fear no more.
And no more turn aside and brood Upon love’s bitter mystery; For Fergus rules the brazen cars, And rules the shadows of the wood, And the white breast of the dim sea And all dishevelled wandering stars.
cf. photograph taken from video by cottonbro studio via Pexels
The highway is full of big cars going nowhere fast And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn Some people wrap their lies around a cocktail glass And you sit wondering where you’re going to turn I got it. Come. And be my baby.
onrushing out into the 42nd street passage huddled in the corner frayed and fallen drifted from the street in pieces and broken-down Yamaha nylon string guitar the third Brandenburg reverberated, echoed, re-echoed transfixed and transfigured I put all my money in his well-worn open case It was almost Christmas
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig-tree in the story.
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and off-beat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig-tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
The barge she sat in like a burnished throne Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold, Purple the sails, and so perfumed that The winds were lovesick with them. The oars were silver, Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made The water which they beat to follow faster, As amorous of their strokes. For her own person, It beggared all description: she did lie In her pavilion—cloth-of-gold, of tissue— O’erpicturing that Venus where we see The fancy outwork nature. On each side her Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids, With divers-colored fans, whose wind did seem To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool, And what they undid did.
All day I tried to distinguish need from desire. Now, in the dark, I feel only bitter sadness for us, the builders, the planers of wood, because I have been looking steadily at these elms and seen the process that creates the writhing, stationary tree is torment, and have understood it will make no forms but twisted forms.
Yesterday the fields were only grey with scattered snow, And now the longest grass-leaves hardly emerge; Yet her deep footsteps mark the snow, and go On towards the pines at the hills’ white verge.
I cannot see her, since the mist’s white scarf Obscures the dark wood and the dull orange sky; But she’s waiting, I know, impatient and cold, half Sobs struggling into her frosty sigh.
Why does she come so promptly, when she must know That she’s only the nearer to the inevitable farewell; The hill is steep, on the snow my steps are slow – Why does she come, when she knows what I have to tell?
“…since you can’t sleep, and Mamma can’t either, we mustn’t go on in this stupid way; we must do something; I’ll get one of your books.” But I had none there. “Would you like me to get out the books now that your grandmother is going to give you for your birthday?”
LUCENTIO: Gramercies, Tranio, well dost thou advise. If, Biondello, thou wert come ashore, We could at once put us in readiness And take a lodging fit to entertain Such friends as time in Padua shall beget.
[Enter Baptista with his two daughters, Katherine and Bianca; Gremio, a pantaloon, and Hortensio, suitors to Bianca.]
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
Again there has been a sad interval in our correspondence. But do not blame me. I have had a pretty severe return this summer of that mel- ancholy or hypochondria, which is inherent in my constitution and from which I have suffered miserably in former years, though since my marriage I have been wonderfully free from it. Your languor and discontent are occasioned by a gentler species of the distemper. You have a slow fever, I a raging one. While gloomy and fretful, and grossly indolent, I was shocked with the recollection of my good spirits, gayety, and activity, as a man with a headache is shocked by bright sunbeams. – But I need not describe my feelings to you. – The strange thing was that I did not write to you, a few lines, merely as firing guns of distress. Nobody here but my wife and worthy Johnson had the least notion of my being at all uneasy; for I have been remarkably busy this summer. I wrote about threescore law-papers, and got £124 in fees during last sessions two months. The court rose yesterday; and this day the clouds began to recede from my mind; I cannot tell from what cause.
…when the sun went down and darkness was over all the earth, we got into the deep waters of the river Oceanus, where lie the land and city of the Cimmerians who live enshrouded in mist and darkness which the rays of the sun never pierce neither at his rising nor as he goes down again out of the heavens…
O ME! what eyes hath Love put in my head Which have no correspondence with true sight; Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled, That censures falsely what they see aright? If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote, What means the world to say it is not so? If it be not, then love doth well denote Love’s eye is not so true as all men’s: no. How can it? O! how can Love’s eye be true, That is so vex’d with watching and with tears? No marvel then, though I mistake my view; The sun itself sees not till heaven clears. O cunning Love! with tears thou keep’st me blind, Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.
He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was…
And next day she actually did know the name, and uttered it the moment the glass door slammed. Frau Chauchat’s name was Clavdia.
Hans Castorp did not grasp it at first. He had to have her repeat the name, even to spell it, before he understood. Then he pronounced it twice or thrice, turning his bloodshot eyes in Frau Chauchat’s direction, in order, as it were, to try if it suited.
“Clavdia,” he said. “ Yes, that is probably it; it fits her quite well.” He could not hide his pleasure in the degree of intimacy thus achieved, and from now on referred always to Frau Chauchat as Clavdia…
He came back from France when Tom and Daisy were still on their wedding trip, and made a miserable but irresistible journey to Louisville on the last of his army pay. He stayed there a week, walking the streets where their footsteps had clicked together through the November night and revisiting the out-of-the-way places to which they had driven in her white car. Just as Daisy’s house had always seemed to him more mysterious and gay than other houses so his idea of the city itself, even though she was gone from it, was pervaded with a melancholy beauty.
He left feeling that if he had searched harder he might have found her—that he was leaving her behind…
The drama’s done. Why then here does any one step forth?—Because one did survive the wreck.
It so chanced, that after the Parsee’s disappearance, I was he whom the Fates ordained to take the place of Ahab’s bowsman, when that bowsman assumed the vacant post; the same, who, when on the last day the three men were tossed from out of the rocking boat, was dropped astern. So, floating on the margin of the ensuing scene, and in full sight of it, when the halfspent suction of the sunk ship reached me, I was then, but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex. When I reached it, it had subsided to a creamy pool. Round and round, then, and ever contracting towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, like another Ixion I did revolve. Till, gaining that vital centre, the black bubble upward burst; and now, liberated by reason of its cunning spring, and, owing to its great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin life-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirgelike main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks sailed with sheathed beaks. On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.
photograph by Isabella and Zsa Fischer via Unsplash
There was the good, the upright Joachim, firm as a rock — yet whose eyes in these past months had come to hold such a tragic shadow, and who had never used to shrug his shoulders, as he did so often now.
“Yes, we sit here and laugh,” he said, with a long face, his words interrupted by the heaving of his diaphragm, “we sit here and laugh, but there’s no telling when I shall get away. When Behrens says half a year, you can make up your mind it will be more. It is hard, isn’t it? — you just tell me if you don’t think it is pretty hard on me. I had already been accepted, I could have taken my exams next month. And now I have to drool about with a thermometer stuck in my mouth…and watch the time slipping away. A year is so important at our age. Down below, one goes through so many changes, and makes so much progress, in a single year of life. And I have to stagnate up here — yes, just stagnate like a filthy puddle; it isn’t too crass a comparison.”
Strange to say, Hans Castorp’s only reply to all this was a query as to whether it was possible to get porter up here…
But Hans Castorp was convinced there was another and private reason why Joachim withdrew so early; he had known it since the time he saw his cousin’s face take on the mottled pallor, and his mouth assume the pathetic twist. He perfectly understood. For Marusja was almost always there in the evening — laughter-loving Marusja, with the little ruby on her charming hand, the handkerchief with the orange scent, and the swelling bosom, tainted within — Hans Castorp comprehended that it was her presence which drove Joachim away, precisely because it so strongly, so fearfully drew him toward her. Was Joachim too “immured” — and even worse off than himself, in that he had five times a day to sit at the same table with Marusja and her orange-scented handkerchief? However that might be, it was clear that Joachim was preoccupied with his own troubles; the thought of him could afford his cousin no mental support. That he took refuge in daily flight was a credit to him; but that he had to flee was anything but reassuring to Hans Castorp, who even began to feel that Joachim’s good example of faithful service of the cure and the initiation which he owed to his cousin’s experience might have also their bad side.
It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me, just for a few minutes, accompanied by a visceral queasiness—such a seizure was at least slightly alarming, after all. As I set down these recollections, I realize that it should have been plain to me that I was already in the grip of the beginning of a mood disorder, but I was ignorant of such a condition at that time.
cf. photograph by Sebastian Voortman via Pexels (edited)
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!…
Time — yet not the time told by the station clock, moving with a jerk five minutes at once, but rather, the time of a tiny timepiece, the hand of which one cannot see move, or the time the grass keeps when it grows, so unobservably one would say it does not grow at all, until some morning the fact is undeniable — time, a line composed of a succession of dimensionless points…time, we say, had gone on, in its furtive, unobservable, competent way, bringing about changes…
When I came opposite her house that morning her white roadster was beside the curb, and she was sitting in it with a lieutenant I had never seen before. They were so engrossed in each other that she didn’t see me until I was five feet away…
“Yes, let’s,” Hans Castorp repeated, mechanically. They spoke in low tones, covered by the music. “Let us sit here, and look on, as though in a dream. For it is like a dream to me, that we are sitting like this — comme un reve singulierement profond, car il faut dormir tres profondement pour rever comme cela. Je veux dire — c’est un reve bien connu, reve de tout temps, long, eternel, oui, etre assis pres de toi comme a present…”
“You are hurt? You must not be. Let us put those feelings away, send them to Jericho. Do you agree? I have been wounded too sometimes — I will confess it, since we are sitting together like this. I have been angry with your phlegm, and your being such friends with him, on account of your egoistic craving for experience. Yet I was glad too, and grateful for the respect you paid him. You were loyal; if you were a bit impertinent too, after all I could make allowance for that.”
“Very kind of you.”
She looked at him. “You are incorrigible, it seems. And certainly I can’t quite tell how much esprit you have — but deep you are, a deep young man. Well, very good, one can do with it, and be friends. Shall we be friends, shall we make a league — not against but for him? Will you give me your hand on it? I am often frightened. — Sometimes I am afraid of the solitude with him — the inward solitude, tu sais — he is — frightening; sometimes I am afraid something may happen to him — it makes me shudder. — I should be glad to feel I had someone beside me. Enfin — if you care to know — that was why I came back here with him — chez toi…”
cf. video by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels (edited)
“I have been up here a long time, Mynheer Peeperkorn, years. How long I hardly know myself, but it has been years of my life. My cousin, to visit whom I came up, in the first instance, was a soldier, an upright and honourable soul, but that was no help to him — he died, and left me, and I remained here alone. I was no soldier, but a civilian, I had a profession, as you may have heard, a good, two-fisted job, which is even supposed to do its share in drawing together the nations of the earth — but somehow it did not draw me. I admit this freely; but the reasons for it I cannot describe otherwise than to say that they are veiled in obscurity, the same obscurity that envelops the origin of my feeling for Madame your mistress — I call her that expressly to show that I am not thinking of undermining the situation as it exists — my feeling for Clavdia Chauchat, and my intimate sense of her being, which I have had since the first moment her eyes met mine and bewitched me, enchanted me, you understand, beyond all reason. For love of her, in defiance of Herr Settembrini, I declared myself for the principle of unreason, the spirituel principle of disease, under whose aegis I had already, in reality, stood for a long time back; and I remained up here, I no longer know precisely how long. I have forgotten, broken with, everything, my relatives, my calling, all my ideas of life. When Clavdia went away, I waited here for her return, so that now I am wholly lost to life down below, and dead in the eyes of my friends. That is what I meant when I spoke of my destiny, and said there might be some justice in a complaint over my present state…”
— Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (Tr. Lowe-Porter)
Always the same, when on a fated night At last the gathered snow lets down as white As may be in dark woods, and with a song It shall not make again all winter long Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground, I almost stumble looking up and round, As one who overtaken by the end Gives up his errand, and lets death descend Upon him where he is, with nothing done To evil, no important triumph won, More than if life had never been begun.
Yet all the precedent is on my side: I know that winter death has never tried The earth but it has failed: the snow may heap In long storms an undrifted four feet deep As measured again maple, birch, and oak, It cannot check the peeper’s silver croak; And I shall see the snow all go down hill In water of a slender April rill That flashes tail through last year’s withered brake And dead weeds, like a disappearing snake. Nothing will be left white but here a birch, And there a clump of houses with a church.
“Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!”
“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
The Lover beseecheth his Mistress not to forget his steadfast Faith and true Intent
FORGET not yet the tried intent Of such a truth as I have meant; My great travail so gladly spent, Forget not yet! Forget not yet when first began The weary life ye know, since whan The suit, the service none tell can; Forget not yet! Forget not yet the great assays, The cruel wrong, the scornful ways, The painful patience in delays, Forget not yet! Forget not! oh! forget not this, How long ago hath been, and is The mind that never meant amiss, Forget not yet! Forget not then thine own approv’d, The which so long hath thee so lov’d, Whose steadfast faith yet never mov’d: Forget not this!
SOULS of Poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern? Have ye tippled drink more fine Than mine host’s Canary wine? Or are fruits of Paradise Sweeter than those dainty pies Of venison? O generous food! Drest as though bold Robin Hood Would, with his maid Marian, Sup and bowse from horn and can.
THE DAY is dark and the night To him that would search their heart; No lips of cloud that will part, Nor morning song in the light: Only, gazing alone, To him wild shadows are shown, Deep under deep unknown And height above unknown height. Still we say as we go,— “Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know, That shall we know one day.”