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Thread: Apospasmata Thread

  1. #706
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    Στο μπαλκόνι είχε μια σακούλα με μισοκαθαρισμένα σπανάκια και μια παντόφλα. Κάτω, στην τσιμεντοστρωμένη αυλή, έξι μέτρα απόσταση από το χαμηλό κάγκελο του πατρικού μου, βρήκαμε την άλλη παντόφλα, ένα στραβωμένο μαχαίρι και το αίμα της. Ανεβήκαμε πάλι. Δεν έστεκε τίποτα. Σπανάκι, παντόφλα, μαχαίρι, αίμα. Έπεσε; Την έριξε κάποιος; Θα το μαθαίναμε, άραγε; Θα ζούσε να μας πει την ιστορία ή θα μέναμε με την απορία για πάντα;

    Πιο πολύ ενδιαφέρονταν οι μπάτσοι. Διακριτικά, εννοείται, «να περάσει η δύσκολη νύχτα και ελάτε από αύριο για κατάθεση». Ποιος να την έριξε, ποιον εχθρό είχε αυτή η γυναίκα. Δεν μπορούσαμε να σκεφτούμε οτιδήποτε. Γυρίσαμε σπίτι από το νοσοκομείο ξημερώματα, «πηγαίνετε σπίτι και ελάτε πάλι κατά τις εννιά που θα ξέρουμε περισσότερα». Χάραζε. Πήρα το λάστιχο και έπλυνα τα αίματα από την αυλή. Δύσκολη ώρα, να καθαρίζεις το αίμα της μάνας σου, αν και η εμπειρία αποδείχτηκε λιγότερο τραυματική απ’ όσο φανταζόμουν -ήταν σα να πλένω το δικό μου αίμα.

    Η κυρά-Σταυρούλα κλείνει σήμερα 62 χρόνια ζωής. Έντεκα περισσότερα από όσα της έδιναν οι γιατροί εκείνη τη ζόρικη νύχτα, που στην ερώτηση της αδερφής μου «θα ζήσει» απάντησαν «50-50», αλλά σ’ εμένα που με έβλεπε ψυχραιμότερο με κοίταξε στα μάτια μία από την ομάδα που μας είχε πάρει στο γραφειάκι τους και κούνησε το κεφάλι αρνητικά. «Όχι». Λίγες ώρες πριν είχα επιστρέψει από Λάρισα, είχα διαλύσει το κορμί μου και πίστευα πως χρειάζομαι μια βδομάδα ξάπλα για να συνέρθω, αλλά τι σου είναι το ανθρώπινο σώμα, με το που έσκασε το τηλέφωνο «τρέξε να την προλάβεις» τσιτώθηκε κάθε μυς, έγινα υπεράνθρωπος και πόνο δεν ένιωθα πουθενά.

    Βάλαμε μια ταινία του Βέγγου. Αυτή ήταν η αντίδρασή μας στην αναμονή αν θα ζήσει ή θα πεθάνει η μάνα μας. Εκτός από τους δεσμούς του αίματος, μας ένωνε η μεγάλη μας αγάπη για τον Θου-Βου από τότε που ήμασταν πιτσιρίκια, παρέα βλέπαμε οι τρεις μας όποτε έπαιζε η τηλεόραση τις ταινίες του, το μοναδικό παρατσούκλι που είχα ποτέ στο σπίτι ήταν αυτό: «Βέγγος», έτσι με φώναζε από τότε που με θυμάμαι, έβλεπε στο γιο της την ίδια παλαβομάρα με τον αγαπημένο μας ήρωα. Δεν κοιτάζαμε στην τηλεόραση, αλλά μας άρεσε να παίζει ο Θανάσης ο Πολυτεχνίτης, που άλλαζε χίλια επαγγέλματα και πουθενά δε στέριωνε, όσο μετρούσαμε τα λεπτά για να ξαναγυρίσουμε στο νοσοκομείο.

    «Αν συνεχιστεί κι άλλο το πρήξιμο δεν θα μπορεί να ανασάνει και θα τη χάσουμε». Είχε πέσει με το σαγόνι από τα έξι μέτρα στο τσιμέντο, είχε γίνει θρύψαλα το μισό της πρόσωπο, είχαν πρηστεί τα πάντα στο λαιμό της εσωτερικά, την κρατούσαν με το ζόρι και με προσευχές. «Είναι θέμα οργανισμού». Και πάνω στην αγωνία μας, στο πιο βασανιστικό πρωινό που είχαμε περάσει στη ζωή μας ως τότε, μας ήρθε και η κατραπακιά: «Σουρωμένη ήταν, βρωμούσε ουίσκι η μάνα σας». Κι εκεί χάσαμε κάθε εμπιστοσύνη στο γιατρό, που έτυχε και συγγενής αλλά δεν το ξέραμε τότε: Σουρωμένη η μάνα μας, που έχω να τη δω να πίνει από το 1981 που βγήκε το ΠΑΣΟΚ και ήπιε μισό ποτήρι λικέρ από κράνα, κάτι δεν πάει καλά με δαύτον, ο τύπος είναι επικίνδυνος. «Τα είχε πιει, γι’ αυτό έπεσε», είπε και μας άφησε να χάσκουμε, μπροστά σε όλο το σόι που είχε μαζευτεί για να μας απαλύνει τον πόνο.

    Ως το μεσημέρι, το «50-50» είχε γίνει «μάλλον το ξεπερνάει» και ως το βράδυ «η μάνα σας κέρδισε τη μάχη» και τα σχετικά που ανακοινώνουν όλο χαρά οι νοσοκόμες όποτε σώνεται ένας άνθρωπος από τα χέρια τους και λάμπουν τα μάτια τους όταν σε κοιτάνε. Μπήκαμε στην εντατική, μας άφησαν στη ζούλα, παιδιά της είστε, είδαμε κάτι που έμοιαζε με άνθρωπο αλλά η μάνα μας ήταν, τη βλέπαμε ακόμα σαστισμένη κάτω από τα αίματα και τα πρηξίματα, το πρόσωπό της διπλό από το χτύπημα στο τσιμέντο, η μάνα μας, ζωντανή, χαιρόταν με τα μάτια, το μόνο πράμα που ήταν ανέγγιχτο στο κορμί της, ανάμεσα στα σωληνάκια, τις γάζες, τη μαυρίλα στο υπόλοιπο σώμα της. «Χάλια την έκανες την αυλή, πρέπει να ξαναρίξουμε τσιμέντο», της είπα. Γέλασε. Πόνεσε. Ξαναγέλασε.

    Άρχισε να μου γράφει στην παλάμη με το δάχτυλό της. Γάμα. Άλφα. Ταυ. Άλφα. «Γάτα». Δεν μπορούσα να καταλάβω, ακόμα κι έτσι έγραφε καλλιγραφικά, με τα παιδικά της γράμματα που ποτέ δεν άλλαξε, τα γράμματα από τα σημειώματα που άφηνε όταν έφευγε στις δύο το πρωί για τη δουλειά πού έχει φαγητό και να μην ξεχάσουμε να πιούμε γάλα και να πάρουμε ζακέτα για το σχολείο. Κι όμως, συνεννοηθήκαμε. Καθάριζε το σπανάκι, ήρθε η γάτα από κάτω, πήγε να της πετάξει φαγητό όπως κάθε βράδυ, γλίστρησε η παντόφλα, έφυγε από το μπαλκόνι με τα μούτρα. Με το μαχαίρι στο χέρι, δεν τ’ άφησε μέχρι που έσκασε το σαγόνι της στο τσιμέντο. Και το ουίσκι; Όμικρον. Χι. Γιώτα. Ο γιατρός είπε πως είχες πιει, τι βλακείες μας λέει. Δέλτα. Έψιλον. Νι. Πι. Γιώτα. Νι. Ωμέγα. Εμείς το ξέρουμε, στον γιατρό να το πεις.

    Έκλαιγε. Μην κλαις, θα μας διώξουν αν σε ταράζουμε. Ξαναπήρε το χέρι μου. Έψιλον. Γάμα. Γάμα. Όμικρον. Νι. Άλφα. Κάπα. Γιώτα. Δεν τσιγκουνεύτηκε δυο γράμματα παραπάνω. Τώρα το θέλεις το εγγονάκι; Έξω είναι η νύφη σου, να την πάρω και να την πέσουμε σε κανένα κρεβάτι στο νοσοκομείο; Γέλασε πάλι. «Ναι», έγνεψε. Θα το ‘χεις και το εγγονάκι, μη σκέφτεσαι τέτοια τώρα, τώρα πρέπει να πολεμήσεις για να το χαρείς το εγγονάκι, εντάξει; Εντάξει. Δεν πέρασε καιρός και της πήγαμε δώρο το τεστ εγκυμοσύνης: «Εγώ τις υποσχέσεις μου τις τηρώ». Και μετά, άλλα τρία, από δυο ο καθένας μας, να έχει να καμαρώνει.

    (συνεχίζεται από κάτω επειδή όριο λέξεων στα ποστς)
    -I remember you as a little boy. The man before me I don’t know at all.
    -When I see my reflection I feel the same thing myself.

  2. #707
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    Όλα στη διάγνωση ήταν συντριπτικά. Συντριπτικό κάταγμα εδώ, συντριπτικό κάταγμα εκεί, από όλο το σύστημα στο πρόσωπο της έμεινε ένα δόντι μοναχό, το οποίο της λέγαμε να το κρατήσει για να ανοίγουμε τις μπύρες και μια φορά πήγε στο ψυγείο κι έφερε μία, κάνοντας νόημα «να την ανοίξω»; Δέκα μέρες Καβάλα, δέκα μέρες Παπανικολάου, ένα μήνα στο σπίτι, πλάκες τιτανίου, ακτινογραφίες, γιατροί, διευθυντές, εκατοντάδες χιλιόμετρα πήγαινε-έλα, ένα ολόκληρο καλοκαίρι να τρώει με καλαμάκι φαγητό αλεσμένο, πέρασε ο καιρός, στάθηκε στα πόδια της. Έγινε ανάμνηση εκείνο το γαμημένο μαγιάτικο βράδυ, όλα έδεσαν όπως έπρεπε, τα κόκαλα, η μασέλα, το πρόσωπο επανήλθε αργά αργά στην όμορφη θέση του.

    «Είχα φάει μπακαλιάρο με σκορδαλιά», είπε κάποια στιγμή. «Αυτό θα μύρισε ο γιατρός και είπε πως είχα πιει αλκοόλ». Ξεραθήκαμε. Ξαναήπιε αλκοόλ, στο γάμο της, πήρε η ζωή και της επέστρεφε αβέρτα όσα της χρωστούσε, επέζησε από τέτοιο χτύπημα, ανάρρωσε, ομόρφυνε πάλι, παντρεύτηκε, βρήκε έναν άνθρωπο να μοιράζεται την καθεμέρα της μετά από όλα αυτά. Και μόλις ηρέμησε ήρθε ο καρκίνος. «Σιγά το πράμα, εδώ ξεπέρασα εκείνο το πέσιμο, στον καρκίνο θα κωλώσω; Χα! Δε με ξέρει καλά». «Χα», αυτό το «χα» της, το σήμα κατατεθέν, λίγο από Βέγγο, λίγο από τον μικρό Βέγγο, εμένα, που της το είχα κολλήσει. Τον κατάπιε. Νίκησε πάλι. 92 χρόνια ΠΑΟΚ, 42 χρόνια Θύρα 4, 62 χρόνια κυρά-Σταυρούλα κι έχουμε ακόμα.

    Στον Άγιο Λουκά έχουνε τηλεοράσεις στις αίθουσες τοκετών. Εμείς δε βλέπαμε τηλεόραση, ούτως ή άλλως, αλλά την είχανε να παίζει από το πρωί που είχαμε πάει για τη γέννα της μελλοντικής Χουλιγκάνας κι αυτό το σκασμένο δεν έλεγε να γεννηθεί επί δώδεκα ώρες. Η κυρά-Σταυρούλα απ’ έξω, στα δέκα μέτρα, έστελνε μηνύματα από το κινητό που το είχε μάθει για να ενημερώνεται. «Ακόμα»; «Πόσα εκατοστά»; «Άντε βρε». Επτά και είκοσι έσκασε μύτη η μικρή, την πήρε ο γιατρός και τη σήκωσε μπροστά μας με τον ομφάλιο λώρο να κρέμεται κι όπως την πρωτοείδα, πανέμορφη, κούκλα, θεά, μέσα στα αίματα, δάκρυσα και στη θολούρα είδα πίσω της, στην τηλεόραση, τον Βέγγο να τρέχει πάνω κάτω στην οθόνη της ΝΕΤ και να μην μπορεί να στεριώσει σε μια δουλειά. Κοιταχτήκαμε με την Άννα για μια στιγμή -μόνο εμείς οι δύο καταλαβαίναμε πως η ζωή μας έκλεινε το μάτι.

    -Νίκος Ιωαννίδης
    -I remember you as a little boy. The man before me I don’t know at all.
    -When I see my reflection I feel the same thing myself.

  3. #708
    Orlanda paddy honey's Avatar
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    Default Louis-Ferdinand Céline - Voyage au bout de la nuit

    I waited more than an hour in the same place, and then toward noon, from the half-light, from the
    shuffling, discontinuous, dismal crowd, there erupted a sudden avalanche of absolutely and undeniably
    beautiful women.

    What a discovery! What an America! What ecstasy! I thought of Lola . . . Her promises had not deceived
    me! It was true.

    I had come to the heart of my pilgrimage. And if my appetite hadn't kept calling itself to my attention, that
    would have struck me as one of those moments of supernatural aesthetic revelation. If I'd been a little
    more comfortable and confident, the incessant beauties I was discovering might have ravished me from my
    base human condition. In short, all I needed was a sandwich to make me believe in miracles. But how I
    needed that sandwich!

    And yet, what supple grace! What incredible delicacy of form and feature! What inspired harmonies! What
    perilous nuances! Triumphant where the danger is greatest! Every conceivable promise of face and figure
    fulfilled! Those blondes! Those brunettes! Those Titian redheads! And more and more kept coming! Maybe,
    I thought, this is Greece starting all over again. Looks like I got here just in time.

    What made those apparitions all the more divine in my eyes was that they seemed totally unaware of my
    existence as I sat on a bench close by, slap-happy, drooling with erotico-mystical admiration and quinine,
    but also, I have to admit, with hunger. If it were possible for a man to jump out of his skin, I'd have done it
    then, once and for all. There was nothing to hold me back.

    Those unlikely midinettes could have wafted me away, sublimated me; a gesture, a word would have
    sufficed, and in that moment I'd have been transported, all of me, into the world of dreams. But I suppose
    they had other fish to fry.

    [...]

    I returned to the light of day by the same stairway and went back to the same bench to rest. Sudden
    outburst of digestive vulgarity. Discovery of a joyous shitting communism. I ignored both these
    disconcerting aspects of the same adventure. I hadn't the strength for analysis or synthesis. My pressing
    desire was to sleep. O rare, delicious frenzy!

    [...]

    Instant amazement . . . You had to divine, to imagine the majesty of the edifice, the generous proportions,
    because the lights were so veiled that it took you some time to know what you were looking at.

    Lots of young women in the half-light, plunged in deep armchairs as in jewel cases. Around them attentive
    men, moving silently, with timid curiosity, to and fro, just offshore from the row of crossed legs and
    magnificent silk-encased thighs. Those miraculous beings seemed to be waiting for grave and costly events.
    Obviously they weren't giving me a thought. So, ever so furtively, I in my turn passed that long and palpable
    temptation.

    Since at least a hundred of those divine leg owners were sitting in a single row of chairs, I reached the
    reception desk in so dreamy a condition, having absorbed a ration of beauty so much too strong for my
    constitution that I was reeling.

    At the desk, a pomaded clerk violently offered me a room. I asked for the smallest in the hotel. I can't have
    had more than fifty dollars at the time. Also, I was pretty well out of ideas and self-assurance.

    I hoped the room the clerk was giving me was really the smallest, because his hotel, the Laugh Calvin,[56]
    was advertised as the most luxurious and sumptuously furnished on the whole North American continent!

    Over my head, what an infinity of furnished rooms! And all around me, in those chairs, what inducements
    to multiple rape! What abysses! What perils! Is the poor man's aesthetic torment to have no end? Is it to be
    even more long-lasting than his hunger? But there was no time to succumb; before I knew it, the clerk had
    thrust a heavy key into my hand. I was afraid to move.

    [...]

    There's something sad about people going to bed. You can see they don't give a damn whether they're
    getting what they want out of life or not, you can see they don't even try to understand what we're here
    for. They just don't care. Americans or not, they sleep no matter what, they're bloated mollusks, no
    sensibility, no trouble with their conscience.

    I'd seen too many puzzling things to be easy in my mind. I knew too much and not enough. I'd better go out,
    I said to myself, I'd better go out again. Maybe I'll meet Robinson. Naturally that was an idiotic idea, but I
    dreamed it up as an excuse for going out again, because no matter how much I tossed and turned on my
    narrow bed, I couldn't snatch the tiniest scrap of sleep. Even masturbation, at times like that, provides
    neither comfort nor entertainment. Then you're really in despair.

    The worst part is wondering how you'll find the strength tomorrow to go on doing what you did today and
    have been doing for much too long, where you'll find the strength for all that stupid running around, those
    projects that come to nothing, those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, which always founder and
    serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, that every night will find you down
    and out, crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows.

    And maybe it's treacherous old age coming on, threatening the worst. Not much music left inside us for life
    to dance to. Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask
    you, can a man escape to, when he hasn't enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death
    agony. The truth is death. You have to choose: death or lies. I've never been able to kill myself.

    I'd better go out into the street, a partial suicide. Everyone has his little knacks, his ways of getting sleep
    and food. I'd need to sleep if I wanted to recover the strength I'd need to go to work next day. Get back the
    zip it would take to find a job in the morning, and in the meantime force my way into the unknown realm of
    sleep. Don't go thinking it's easy to fall asleep when you've started doubting everything, mostly because of
    the awful fears people have given you.

    I dressed and somehow found my way to the elevator, but feeling kind of foggy. I still had to cross the
    lobby, to pass more rows of ravishing enigmas with legs so tempting, faces so delicate and severe.
    Goddesses, in short, hustling goddesses. We might have tried to make an arrangement. But I was afraid of
    being arrested. Complications. Nearly all a poor bastard's desires are punishable by jail. So there I was on
    the street again. It wasn't the same crowd as before. This one billowed over the sidewalks and showed a
    little more life, as if it had landed in a country less arid, the land of entertainment, of night life.

    The people surged in the direction of lights suspended far off in the darkness, writhing multicolored snakes.
    They flowed in from all the neighboring streets. A crowd like that, I said to myself, adds up to a lot of dollars
    in handkerchiefs alone or silk stockings! Or just in cigarettes for that matter! And to think that you can go
    out among all that money, and nobody'll give you a single penny, not even to go and eat with! It's
    heartbreaking to think how people shut themselves off from one another, like houses.

    I, too, dragged myself toward the lights, a movie house, and then another right next to it, and another, all
    along the street. We lost big chunks of crowd to each of them. I picked a movie house with posters of
    women in slips, and what legs! Boyohboy! Heavy! Ample! Shapely! And pretty faces on top, as though
    drawn for the contrast, no need of retouching, not a blemish, not a flaw, perfect I tell you, delicate but firm
    and concise. Life can engender no greater peril than these incautious beauties, these indiscreet variations
    on perfect divine harmony.

    It was warm and cozy in the movie house. An enormous organ, as mellow as in a cathedral, a heated
    cathedral I mean, organ pipes like thighs. They don't waste a moment. Before you know it, you're bathing in
    an all-forgiving warmth. Just let yourself go and you'll begin to think the world has been converted to
    loving-kindness. I almost was myself.

    Dreams rise in the darkness and catch fire from the mirage of moving light. What happens on the screen
    isn't quite real; it leaves open a vague cloudy space for the poor, for dreams and the dead. Hurry hurry,
    cram yourself full of dreams to carry you through the life that's waiting for you outside, when you leave
    here, to help you last a few days more in that nightmare of things and people. Among the dreams, choose
    the ones most likely to warm your soul. I have to confess that I picked the sexy ones. No point in being
    proud; when it comes to miracles, take the ones that will stay with you. A blonde with unforgettable tits
    and shoulders saw fit to break the silence of the screen with a song about her loneliness. I'd have been glad
    to cry about it with her.

    There's nothing like it! What a lift it gives you! After that, I knew I'd have courage enough in my guts to last
    me at least two days. I didn't even wait for the lights to go on. Once I'd absorbed a small dose of that
    admirable ecstasy, I knew Yd sleep, my mind was made up.

    When I got back to the Laugh Calvin, the night clerk, despite my greeting, neglected to say good evening the
    way they do at home. But his contempt didn't mean a thing to me anymore. An intense inner life suffices to
    itself, it can melt an icepack that has been building up for twenty years. That's a fact.

    In my room I'd barely closed my eyes when the blonde from the movie house came along and sang her
    whole song of sorrow just for me. I helped her put me to sleep, so to speak, and succeeded pretty well ... I
    wasn't entirely alone . . . It's not possible to sleep alone . . .
    Last edited by paddy honey; 04-06-2018 at 17:39.

  4. #709
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    Default Jack Kerouac - On The Road

    The cop smiled and said, «Yeah? Is this really your own wallet?»
    Finally the mean one inside fined Dean twenty-five dollars. We told them we only had forty to go
    all the way to the Coast; they said that made no difference to them. When Dean protested, the mean
    cop threatened to take him back to Pennsylvania and slap a special charge on him.
    «What charge?»
    «Never mind what charge. Don’t worry about that, wiseguy.»
    We had to give them the twenty-five. But first Ed Dunkel, that culprit, offered to go to jail. Dean
    considered it. The cop was infuriated; he said, «If you let your partner go to jail I’m taking you back
    to Pennsylvania right now. You hear that?» All we wanted to do was go. «Another speeding ticket in
    Virginia and you lose your car,» said the mean cop as a parting volley. Dean was red in the face. We
    drove off silently. It was just like an invitation to steal to take our trip-money away from us. They
    knew we were broke and had no relatives on the road or to wire to for money. The American police
    are involved in psychological warfare against those Americans who don’t frighten them with imposing
    papers and threats. It’s a Victorian police force; it peers out of musty windows and wants to inquire
    about everything, and can make crimes if the crimes don’t exist to its satisfaction. «Nine lines of
    crime, one of boredom,» said Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Dean was so mad he wanted to come back
    to Virginia and shoot the cop as soon as he had a gun.

    [...]

    It would take all night to tell about Old Bull Lee; let’s just say now, he was a teacher, and it may
    be said that he had every right to teach because he spent all his time learning; and the things he
    learned were what he considered to be and called «the facts of life,» which he learned not only out of
    necessity but because he wanted to. He dragged his long, thin body around the entire United States
    and most of Europe and North Africa in his time, only to see what was going on; he married a White
    Russian countess in Yugoslavia to get her away from the Nazis in the thirties; there are pictures of
    him with the international cocaine set of the thirties - gangs with wild hair, leaning on one another;
    there are other pictures of him in a Panama hat, surveying the streets of Algiers; he never saw the
    White Russian countess again. He was an exterminator in Chicago, a bartender in New York, a
    summons-server in Newark. In Paris he sat at cafe tables, watching the sullen French faces go by. In
    Athens he looked up from his ouzo at what he called the ugliest people in the world. In Istanbul he
    threaded his «way through crowds of opium addicts and rug-sellers, looking for the facts. In English
    hotels he read Spengler and the Marquis de Sade. In Chicago he planned to hold up a Turkish bath,
    hesitated just for two minutes too long for a drink, and wound up with two dollars and had to make a
    run for it. He did all these things merely for the experience. Now the final study was the drug habit.
    He was now in New Orleans, slipping along the streets with shady characters and haunting
    connection bars.

    [...]

    And Dean and I, ragged and dirty as if we had lived off locust, stumbled out of the bus in Detroit.
    We decided to stay up in all-night movies on Skid Row. It was too cold for parks. Hassel had been
    here on Detroit Skid Row, he had dug every shooting gallery and all-night movie and every brawling
    bar with his dark eyes many a time. His ghost haunted us. We’d never find him on Times Square
    again. We thought maybe by accident Old Dean Moriarty was here too - but he was not. For thirtyfive
    cents each we went into the beat-up old movie and sat down in the balcony till morning, when
    we were shooed downstairs. The people who were in that all-night movie were the end. Beat
    Negroes who’d come up from
    Alabama to work in car factories on a rumor; old white bums; young longhaired hipsters who’d
    reached the end of the road and were drinking wine; whores, ordinary couples, and housewives with
    nothing to do, nowhere to go, nobody to believe in. If you sifted all Detroit in a wire basket the
    beater solid core of dregs couldn’t be better gathered. The picture was Singing Cowboy Eddie Dean
    and his gallant white horse Bloop, that was number one; number two double-feature film was George
    Raft, Sidney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre in a picture about Istanbul. We saw both of these things
    six times each during the night. We saw them waking, we heard them sleeping, we sensed them
    dreaming, we were permeated completely with the strange Gray Myth of the West and the weird
    dark Myth of the East when morning came. All my actions since then have been dictated
    automatically to my subconscious by this horrible osmotic experience. I heard big Greenstreet sneer
    a hundred times; I heard Peter Lorre make his sinister come-on; I was with George Raft in his
    paranoiac fears; I rode and sang with Eddie Dean and shot up the rustlers innumerable times. People
    slugged out of bottles and turned around and looked everywhere in the dark theater for something to
    do, somebody to talk to. In the head everybody was guiltily quiet, nobody talked. In the gray dawn
    that puffed ghostlike about the windows of the theater and hugged its eaves I was sleeping with my
    head on the wooden arm of a seat as six attendants of the theater converged with their night’s total of swept-up rubbish and created a huge dusty pile that reached to my nose as I snored head down - till they almost swept me away too. This was reported to me by Dean, who was watching from ten
    seats behind. All the cigarette butts, the bottles, the matchbooks, the come and the gone were swept
    up in this pile. Had they taken me with it, Dean would never have seen me again. He would have had
    to roam the entire United States and look in every garbage pail from coast to coast before he found
    me embryonically convoluted among the rubbishes of my life, his life, and the life of everybody
    concerned and not concerned. What would I have said to him from my rubbish womb? «Don’t
    bother me, man, I’m happy where I am. You lost me one night in Detroit in August nineteen fortynine.
    What right have you to come and disturb my reverie in this pukish can?» In 1942 I was the star
    in one of the filthiest dramas of all time. I was a seaman, and went to the Imperial Cafe on Scollay
    Square in Boston to drink; I drank sixty glasses of beer and retired to the toilet, where I wrapped
    myself around the toilet bowl and went to sleep. During the night at least a hundred seamen and
    assorted civilians came in and cast their sentient debouchments on me till I was unrecognizably
    caked. What difference does it make after all? - anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in
    heaven, for what’s heaven? what’s earth? All in the mind.

    https://nevalalee.wordpress.com/2016...to-the-movies/

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    Default Patrick Süskind - Das Parfum

    Now he could rest awhile in good conscience. He stretched out-to the extent his body fit within the narrow stony quarters. Deep inside, however, on the cleanly swept mats of his soul, he stretched out comfortably to the fullest and dozed away, letting delicate scents play about his nose: a spicy gust, for instance, as if borne here from springtime meadows; a mild May wind wafting through the first green leaves of beech; a sea breeze, with the bitterness of salted almonds. It was late afternoon when he arose— something like late afternoon, for naturally there was no afternoon or forenoon or evening or morning, there was neither light nor darkness, nor were there spring meadows nor green beech leaves… there were no real things at all in Grenouille’s innermost universe, only the odors of things. (Which is why the fafon deparler speaks of that universe as a landscape; an adequate expression, to be sure, but the only possible one, since our language is of no use when it comes to describing the smellable world.) It was, then, late afternoon: that is, a condition and a moment within Grenouille’s soul such as reigns over the south when the siesta is done and the paralysis of midday slowly recedes and life’s urge begins again after such constraint. The heat kindled by rage-the enemy of sublime scents-had fled, the pack of demons was annihilated. The fields within him lay soft and burnished beneath the lascivious peace of his awakening -and they waited for the will of their lord to come upon them.

    And Grenouille rose up-as noted-and shook the sleep from his limbs. He stood up, the great innermost Grenouille. Like a giant he planted himself, in all his glory and grandeur, splendid to look upon-damn shame that no one saw him!-and looked about him, proud and majestic.

    Yes! This was his empire! The incomparable Empire of Grenouille! Created and ruled over by him, the incomparable Grenouille, laid waste by him if he so chose and then raised up again, made boundless by him and defended with a flaming sword against every intruder. Here there was naught but his will, the will of the great, splendid, incomparable Grenouille. And now that the evil stench of the past had been swept away, he desired that his empire be fragrant. And with mighty strides he passed across the fallow fields and sowed fragrance of all kinds, wastefully here, sparingly there, in plantations of endless dimension and in small, intimate parcels, strewing seeds by the fistful or tucking them in one by one in selected spots. To the farthermost regions of his empire, Grenouille the Great, the frantic gardener, hurried, and soon there was not a cranny left into which he had not thrown a seed of fragrance.

    And when he saw that it was good and that the whole earth was saturated with his divine Grenouille seeds, then Grenouille the Great let descend a shower of rectified spirit, soft and steady, and everywhere and overall the seed began to germinate and sprout, bringing forth shoots to gladden his heart. On the plantations it rolled in luxurious waves, and in the hidden gardens the stems stood full with sap. The blossoms all but exploded from their buds.

    Then Grenouille the Great commanded the rain to stop. And it was so. And he sent the gentle sun of his smile upon the land; whereupon, to a bud, the hosts of blossoms unfolded their glory, from one end of his empire unto the other, creating a single rainbowed carpet woven from myriad precious capsules of fragrance. And Grenouille the Great saw that it was good, very, very good. And he caused the wind of his breath to blow across the land. And the blossoms, thus caressed, spilled over with scent and intermingled their teeming scents into one constantly changing scent that in all its variety was nevertheless merged into the odor of universal homage to Him, Grenouille the Great, the Incomparable, the Magnificent, who, enthroned upon his gold-scented cloud, sniffed his breath back in again, and the sweet savor of the sacrifice was pleasing unto him. And he deigned to bless his creation several times over, from whom came thanksgiving with songs of praise and rejoicing and yet further outpourings of glorious fragrance. Meanwhile evening was come, and the scents spilled over still and united with the blue of night to form ever more fantastic airs. A veritable gala of scent awaited, with one gigantic burst of fragrant diamond-studded fireworks.

    Grenouille the Great, however, had tired a little and yawned and spoke: “Behold, I have done a great thing, and I am well pleased. But as with all the works once finished, it begins to bore me. I shall withdraw, and to crown this strenuous day I shall allow myself yet one more small delectation in the chambers of my heart.”

    So spoke Grenouille the Great and, while the peasantry of scent danced and celebrated beneath him, he glided with wide-stretched wings down from his golden clouds, across the nocturnal fields of his soul, and home to his heart.

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    Default Louis-Ferdinand Céline - Voyage au bout de la nuit

    Quote Originally Posted by paddy honey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ikonoklast View Post
    Γιατί κάνω συλλογή απο κλεμμένα μανιφέστα. Έχω εφτά εκδόσεις και τα τρίβω όλα στο μουνί μου.
    Κλέβεις εκκλησία σα να λέμε (σκληρέ) καριόλη.
    Nowadays, for instance, it's easy to talk about Jesus Christ. Did Jesus Christ go to the toilet in front of
    everybody? It seems to me his racket wouldn't have lasted very long if he'd taken a shit in public. Very little
    presence, that's the whole trick, especially in love.

    Once Tania had been thoroughly assured that there was no possible train to Berlin, we made up for it in
    telegrams. At the Bourse[81] post office, we composed an extremely long one, because we didn't know
    whom to address it to. We didn't know anybody in Berlin except the dead man. From that moment on,
    there was nothing we could do but exchange words about the dead man's death. Words helped us to walk
    around the Bourse two or three times. Then we had to do something to soothe Tania's sorrow, so we
    strolled slowly up toward Montmartre, garbling words of grief.

    On the Rue Lepic you start meeting people on their way to the top of the city in search of merriment.
    They're in a hurry. When they get to Sacré Coeur, they look down at the night, a big dense hollow with
    houses piled at the bottom, On the little square we went into the cafe that looked the least expensive. By
    way of consolation and gratitude Tania let me kiss her wherever I pleased. She also liked to drink. Tipsy
    merrymakers were already asleep on the benches around us. The clock at the top of the little church
    started striking the hours and more hours, and on and on. We had reached the end of the world, that was
    becoming obvious. We couldn't go any further, because further on there were only dead people.

    The dead began on the Place du Tertre, two steps away. From where we were it was easy to see them. They
    were passing over the Galeries Dufayel, to the east of us.

    Even so, you've got to know how to find them — namely, from inside with your eyes almost
    closed, because the electric signs with their great copses of light make it very hard to see the dead, even through the clouds.
    I realized at once that these dead had Bébert with them. Bébert and I even gave each other the high sign,
    and then not far from him I saw the pale girl from Rancy, she had finally finished aborting, this time her guts
    had been taken out of her, and we, too, signaled to each other.

    There were old patients of mine here and there, male and female, that I'd long stopped thinking about, and
    still others, the black man in a white cloud, all alone, the one they had given one lash too many down there
    in Topo, and old man Grappa, the lieutenant of the virgin forest! I'd thought of them all from time to time,
    of the lieutenant, the tortured black, and also of my Spaniard, the priest, he had come down from heaven
    that night with the dead to say prayers, and his golden crucifix was getting in his way, making it hard for
    him to fly from sky to sky. It got tangled up in the clouds, the dirtiest and yellowest of them, and as time
    went on I recognized more dead people, more and more ... So many you can't help feeling ashamed of not
    having had time to look at them while they were living here beside you, all those years . . .

    There's never enough time, it's true, not even for thinking of yourself.

    Well, anyway, all those sons of bitches had turned into angels without my noticing! Whole clouds full of
    angels, including some very far - out and disreputable ones, all over the place. Roaming around, high over
    the city! I looked for Molly among them, a golden opportunity, my sweet, my only friend, but she hadn't
    come with them . . . She'd always been so nice that she probably had a little heaven all to herself, right next
    to God ... I was glad not to find her with all those thugs, oh yes, the ghosts assembled over the city that
    night were really just the dregs of the dead, just scoundrels, scum and riffraff. Especially from the cemetery nearby they came, more and more of them, though it's not a big cemetery, not at all high class. There were even Communards, all drenched with blood, with their mouths wide open as if they wanted to yell some more and couldn't . . . The Communards were waiting with the others, waiting for La Pérouse, La Pérouse of the Islands, who was in command of the whole rally that night ... La Pérouse[83] was taking a hell of a long time to get ready, because of his wooden leg, which he'd put on backward . . . he'd always had trouble with that wooden leg, and besides he couldn't find his big spyglass.

    He refused to come out of the clouds without his spyglass around his neck, crazy idea, the famous spyglass
    of his adventures, a laugh, it made you see people and things far away, further and further away through
    the small end, and naturally becoming more and more desirable because and in spite of your getting closer
    to them. Some Cossacks, who were tucked away not far from the Moulin,[84] couldn't manage to get clear
    of their graves. They were trying so hard it was terrifying, but they had tried many times before . . . They
    kept toppling back into their graves, they'd been drunk since 1820.

    Nevertheless, a shower made them shoot up, and there they were over the city, refreshed. Then they
    scattered far and wide and painted the night with their turbulence, from cloud to cloud . . . The Opera in particular seemed to attract them, with its enormous brazier of electric signs in the middle. Spurting from it, the ghosts bounded to the other end of the sky, so numerous and so active they made your head spin. Ready at last, La Pérouse wanted them to hoist him up at the last stroke of four. They held him in place and strapped him to the saddle. Finally astride and settled, he went right on waving his arms and gesticulating. The clock striking four almost made La Pérouse lose his balance as he was buttoning his coat. But then he led the mad rush across the sky. A hideous rout. Twisting and turning, the phantoms pour from all directions, the ghosts of a thousand heroic battles . . . They pursue, they challenge, they charge one another, centuries against centuries. For a long while, the north is cluttered with their abominable mêlée. The bluish horizon detaches itself, at last the day rises through the big rent they've made in the night while escaping.

    After that it becomes very hard to find them. You have to get outside of Time.

    If you do manage to find them, it will be over toward England, but on that side the fog is always so dense,
    so compact that it's like sails rising one after another from the earth to the highest heaven and for all time.
    With practice and close attention you can find them even so, but never for very long, because of the wind
    that keeps blowing rain squalls and mists from the open sea.

    The tall woman who is there, guarding the island, is the last of all. Her head is even higher than the
    uppermost mists. By now she is the only halfway living thing on the island. Her red hair, high over
    everything else, still puts a little gold into the clouds; that's all there is left of the sun.

    They say she's trying to make herself a cup of tea.

    She may as well try, because she'll be there for all eternity. She'll never bring her tea to a boil because of
    the fog, which has become too dense and penetrating. For a teapot she uses the hull of a ship, the most
    beautiful, the largest of ships, the last she could find in Southampton, and she heats up her tea in it, waves
    and waves of it ... She stirs . . . She stirs it about with an enormous oar . . . That keeps her busy.

    Serious for all time, bent over her tea, she doesn't look at anything else.

    The whole dance has passed over her, but she hasn't even moved, she's used to having these ghosts from
    the Continent losing themselves over there . . . That's the end of it.

    With her fingers she stirs, that's good enough for her, the coals under the ashes between two dead forests.

    She tries to revive the fire, it's all hers now, but her tea will never boil again.

    There's no life left for the flames.

    No more life in the world for anyone, only a wee bit for her . . . everything is almost over . . .

    Spoiler





    http://www.imerodromos.gr/ti-me-kita...a-moudiasmeno/

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    Default -"-

    On rotten days like that, mountains of fatigue and disgust accumulate between your nose and your eyes,
    enough in that one spot to last several men for years. Much too much for one man.

    Just then, all in all, I'd have been glad to go back to the Tarapout. Especially as Parapine had also stopped talking to me. But I was in their bad books at the Tarapout. It's hard to have no source of spiritual or material comfort but your boss, especially when he's an alienist and
    you're not so sure of your own head. All you can do is hold tight. And not say anything. We could still talk about women together. That was a benign subject, which gave me a chance to make him laugh now and then. In that field he gave me credit for a certain experience, for some slight and nasty competence.

    It had its advantages that on the whole Baryton should consider me with a certain contempt. A boss always finds the crumminess of his staff rather reassuring. A slave must at all costs be slightly, if not superlatively, contemptible. An assortment of chronic moral and physical defects justifies the horrible treatment he is
    getting. Then the earth turns more smoothly, for each man occupies the place he deserves.

    A person you make use of should be dull and abject, a born failure. It comes as a relief to the boss,
    especially since Baryton paid us very badly. An employer with his degree of acute avarice tends to be
    suspicious and uneasy. Failure, debauchee, black sheep, loyal! . . . Now there's a perfect combination that will justify anything. Baryton wouldn't have been displeased if I had been kind of wanted by the police.
    Those are the things that guarantee an employee's loyalty.

    I had cast off all self-respect long ago. That sentiment had always struck me a
    s far above my station, much too costly for my resources. I'd made that sacrifice once and for all and had no regrets whatever.

    By then I was quite content if I could keep myself in a tolerable state of alimentary and physical balance. I had stopped worrying my head about anything else. Nevertheless, I found it hard to get through certain
    nights, especially when the memory of what had happened in Toulouse prevented me from sleeping.

    At such times I couldn't help it, I imagined all sorts of dramatic sequels
    to Grandma Henrouille's fall into the mummy crypt. Fear rose up from my bowels, seized hold of my heart, and made it pound so hard that I'd
    jump out of bed and pace the floor, this way and that way into the depths of darkness and into the dawning light. During those attacks I despaired of ever recapturing enough peace of mind to fall asleep again. If
    someone tells you he's unhappy, don't take it on faith. Just ask him if he can sleep ... If he can, then all's well. That's good enough.
    Spoiler



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    Default Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway

    “Good-morning to you, Clarissa!” said Hugh, rather extravagantly, for they had known each other as children. “Where are you off to?”

    “I love walking in London,” said Mrs. Dalloway. “Really it’s better than walking in the country.”

    They had just come up — unfortunately — to see doctors. Other people came to see pictures; go to the opera; take their daughters out; the Whitbreads came “to see doctors.” Times without number Clarissa had visited Evelyn Whitbread in a nursing home. Was Evelyn ill again? Evelyn was a good deal out of sorts, said Hugh, intimating by a kind of pout or swell of his very well-covered, manly, extremely handsome, perfectly upholstered body (he was almost too well dressed always, but presumably had to be, with his little job at Court) that his wife had some internal ailment, nothing serious, which, as an old friend, Clarissa Dalloway would quite understand without requiring him to specify. Ah yes, she did of course; what a nuisance; and felt very sisterly and oddly conscious at the same time of her hat. Not the right hat for the early morning, was that it? For Hugh always made her feel, as he bustled on, raising his hat rather extravagantly and assuring her that she might be a girl of eighteen, and of course he was coming to her party to-night, Evelyn absolutely insisted, only a little late he might be after the party at the Palace to which he had to take one of Jim’s boys — she always felt a little skimpy beside Hugh; schoolgirlish; but attached to him, partly from having known him always, but she did think him a good sort in his own way, though Richard was nearly driven mad by him, and as for Peter Walsh, he had never to this day forgiven her for liking him.

    She could remember scene after scene at Bourton — Peter furious; Hugh not, of course, his match in any way, but still not a positive imbecile as Peter made out; not a mere barber’s block. When his old mother wanted him to give up shooting or to take her to Bath he did it, without a word; he was really unselfish, and as for saying, as Peter did, that he had no heart, no brain, nothing but the manners and breeding of an English gentleman, that was only her dear Peter at his worst; and he could be intolerable; he could be impossible; but adorable to walk with on a morning like this.

    (June had drawn out every leaf on the trees. The mothers of Pimlico gave suck to their young. Messages were passing from the Fleet to the Admiralty. Arlington Street and Piccadilly seemed to chafe the very air in the Park and lift its leaves hotly, brilliantly, on waves of that divine vitality which Clarissa loved. To dance, to ride, she had adored all that.)

    For they might be parted for hundreds of years, she and Peter; she never wrote a letter and his were dry sticks; but suddenly it would come over her, If he were with me now what would he say? — some days, some sights bringing him back to her calmly, without the old bitterness; which perhaps was the reward of having cared for people; they came back in the middle of St. James’s Park on a fine morning — indeed they did. But Peter — however beautiful the day might be, and the trees and the grass, and the little girl in pink — Peter never saw a thing of all that. He would put on his spectacles, if she told him to; he would look. It was the state of the world that interested him; Wagner, Pope’s poetry, people’s characters eternally, and the defects of her own soul. How he scolded her! How they argued! She would marry a Prime Minister and stand at the top of a staircase; the perfect hostess he called her (she had cried over it in her bedroom), she had the makings of the perfect hostess, he said.

    So she would still find herself arguing in St. James’s Park, still making out that she had been right — and she had too — not to marry him. For in marriage a little licence, a little independence there must be between people living together day in day out in the same house; which Richard gave her, and she him. (Where was he this morning for instance? Some committee, she never asked what.) But with Peter everything had to be shared; everything gone into. And it was intolerable, and when it came to that scene in the little garden by the fountain, she had to break with him or they would have been destroyed, both of them ruined, she was convinced; though she had borne about with her for years like an arrow sticking in her heart the grief, the anguish; and then the horror of the moment when some one told her at a concert that he had married a woman met on the boat going to India! Never should she forget all that! Cold, heartless, a prude, he called her. Never could she understand how he cared. But those Indian women did presumably — silly, pretty, flimsy nincompoops. And she wasted her pity. For he was quite happy, he assured her — perfectly happy, though he had never done a thing that they talked of; his whole life had been a failure. It made her angry still.

    She had reached the Park gates. She stood for a moment, looking at the omnibuses in Piccadilly.

    She would not say of any one in the world now that they were this or were that. She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. Not that she thought herself clever, or much out of the ordinary. How she had got through life on the few twigs of knowledge Fräulein Daniels gave them she could not think. She knew nothing; no language, no history; she scarcely read a book now, except memoirs in bed; and yet to her it was absolutely absorbing; all this; the cabs passing; and she would not say of Peter, she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that.

    Her only gift was knowing people almost by instinct, she thought, walking on. If you put her in a room with some one, up went her back like a cat’s; or she purred. Devonshire House, Bath House, the house with the china cockatoo, she had seen them all lit up once; and remembered Sylvia, Fred, Sally Seton — such hosts of people; and dancing all night; and the waggons plodding past to market; and driving home across the Park. She remembered once throwing a shilling into the Serpentine. But every one remembered; what she loved was this, here, now, in front of her; the fat lady in the cab. Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely; all this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely? but that somehow in the streets of London, on the ebb and flow of things, here, there, she survived, Peter survived, lived in each other, she being part, she was positive, of the trees at home; of the house there, ugly, rambling all to bits and pieces as it was; part of people she had never met; being laid out like a mist between the people she knew best, who lifted her on their branches as she had seen the trees lift the mist, but it spread ever so far, her life, herself. But what was she dreaming as she looked into Hatchards’ shop window? What was she trying to recover? What image of white dawn in the country, as she read in the book spread open:

    Fear no more the heat o’ the sun

    Nor the furious winter’s rages.

    Spoiler

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    Default James Joyce - Ulysses

    It, with the preceding scene and with others unnarrated but existent by implication, to which add essays on various subjects or moral apothegms (e.g. My favourite hero or procrastination is the thief of time) composed during schoolyears, seemed to him to contain in itself and in conjunction with the personal equation certain possibilities of financial, social, personal and sexual success, whether specially collected and selected as model pedagogic themes (of cent per cent merit) for the use of preparatory and junior grade students or contributed in printed form, following the precedent of Philip Beaufoy or Doctor Dick or Heblon’s Studies in blue, to a publication of certified circulation and solvency or employed verbally as intellectual stimulation for sympathetic auditors, tacitly appreciative of successful narrative and confidently augurative of successful achievement, during the increasingly longer nights gradually following the summer solstice on the day but three following, videlicet, Tuesday, 21 June (S. Aloysius Gonzaga), sunrise 3.33 a.m., sunset 8.29 p.m.

    Which domestic problem as much as, if not more than, any other frequently engaged his mind?

    What to do with our wives.

    What had been his hypothetical singular solutions?

    Parlour games (dominos, halma, tiddledywinks, spilikins, cup and ball, nap, spoil five, bezique, twentyfive, beggar my neighbour, draughts, chess or backgammon): embroidery, darning or knitting for the policeaided clothing society: musical duets, mandoline and guitar, piano and flute, guitar and piano: legal scrivenery or envelope addressing: biweekly visits to variety entertainments: commercial activity as pleasantly commanding and pleasingly obeyed mistress proprietress in a cool dairy shop or warm cigar divan: the clandestine satisfaction of erotic irritation in masculine brothels, state inspected and medically controlled: social visits, at regular infrequent prevented intervals and with regular frequent preventive superintendence, to and from female acquaintances of recognised respectability in the vicinity: courses of evening instruction specially designed to render liberal instruction agreeable.

    What instances of deficient mental development in his wife inclined him in favour of the lastmentioned (ninth) solution?

    In disoccupied moments she had more than once covered a sheet of paper with signs and hieroglyphics which she stated were Greek and Irish and Hebrew characters. She had interrogated constantly at varying intervals as to the correct method of writing the capital initial of the name of a city in Canada, Quebec. She understood little of political complications, internal, or balance of power, external. In calculating the addenda of bills she frequently had recourse to digital aid. After completion of laconic epistolary compositions she abandoned the implement of calligraphy in the encaustic pigment, exposed to the corrosive action of copperas, green vitriol and nutgall. Unusual polysyllables of foreign origin she interpreted phonetically or by false analogy or by both: metempsychosis (met him pike hoses), alias (a mendacious person mentioned in sacred scripture).

    What compensated in the false balance of her intelligence for these and such deficiencies of judgment regarding persons, places and things?

    The false apparent parallelism of all perpendicular arms of all balances, proved true by construction. The counterbalance of her proficiency of judgment regarding one person, proved true by experiment.

    How had he attempted to remedy this state of comparative ignorance?

    Variously. By leaving in a conspicuous place a certain book open at a certain page: by assuming in her, when alluding explanatorily, latent knowledge: by open ridicule in her presence of some absent other’s ignorant lapse.


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    Orlanda paddy honey's Avatar
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    Default Fyodor Dostoyevsky - White Nights

    “No, no, no! Not at all. Go on! I won’t say a word!”

    “I will continue. There is, my friend Nastenka, one hour in my day which I like extremely. That is the hour when almost all business, work and duties are over, and every one is hurrying home to dinner, to lie down, to rest, and on the way all are cogitating on other more cheerful subjects relating to their evenings, their nights, and all the rest of their free time. At that hour our hero — for allow me, Nastenka, to tell my story in the third person, for one feels awfully ashamed to tell it in the first person — and so at that hour our hero, who had his work too, was pacing along after the others. But a strange feeling of pleasure set his pale, rather crumpled-looking face working. He looked not with indifference on the evening glow which was slowly fading on the cold Petersburg sky. When I say he looked, I am lying: he did not look at it, but saw it as it were without realizing, as though tired or preoccupied with some other more interesting subject, so that he could scarcely spare a glance for anything about him. He was pleased because till next day he was released from business irksome to him, and happy as a schoolboy let out from the class-room to his games and mischief. Take a look at him, Nastenka; you will see at once that joyful emotion has already had an effect on his weak nerves and morbidly excited fancy. You see he is thinking of something. . . . Of dinner, do you imagine? Of the evening? What is he looking at like that? Is it at that gentleman of dignified appearance who is bowing so picturesquely to the lady who rolls by in a carriage drawn by prancing horses? No, Nastenka; what are all those trivialities to him now! He is rich now with his own individual life; he has suddenly become rich, and it is not for nothing that the fading sunset sheds its farewell gleams so gaily before him, and calls forth a swarm of impressions from his warmed heart. Now he hardly notices the road, on which the tiniest details at other times would strike him. Now ‘the Goddess of Fancy’ (if you have read Zhukovsky, dear Nastenka) has already with fantastic hand spun her golden warp and begun weaving upon it patterns of marvellous magic life — and who knows, maybe, her fantastic hand has borne him to the seventh crystal heaven far from the excellent granite pavement on which he was walking his way? Try stopping him now, ask him suddenly where he is standing now, through what streets he is going — he will, probably remember nothing, neither where he is going nor where he is standing now, and flushing with vexation he will certainly tell some lie to save appearances. That is why he starts, almost cries out, and looks round with horror when a respectable old lady stops him politely in the middle of the pavement and asks her way.

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