Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Retrospective (Norman Douglas)

Glancing back I note that on this date twenty years ago—namely on Christmas Eve, 1924—I was staying at Syracuse. Twenty years:what can have happened during that long stretch of time? It is a blank at first; a blank, and then a blur. Suddenly the memories crawl out of chaos and disentangle themselves from one another.  Yes, a good deal was crammed into those years—deaths of old friends and the making of some few new ones; trips to Tunis and Greece and Austria, to India and Syria and Tanganyika; the writing of books; a lawsuit or two; that infernal rheumatism.

        In Syracuse the hotel up at the Latomia dei Cappuccini was most comfortable, one of the best, at the moment in the kingdom.  Nothing was lacking, nothing amiss.  And I grudged myself nothing.  If what is meant to be serious work, like the writing of that pamphlet on Maurice Magnus, has to be done, then good food and attentive service are essential;  these and uninterrupted quiet.  Hence the visit to Syracuse where one was a complete stranger.  This day, then, twenty years ago, the booklet was finished and typed on that handy but otherwise unsatisfactory Blick.

From Late Harvest. London, Lindsay Drummond, 1946. 

Reader Note:  Click on images to enlarge.

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