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A Pearl in an Oyster

Picasso

Picasso

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
[FIELDSET=قصص عن يهود بيروت]


أحبّت أستير الطبيعة والمناخ الجبلي كثيراً، لكنّ عائلتها من متوسّطي الحال ولم تكن تستطيع أن تستأجر منزلاً صيفياً في بحمدون أو عاليه كما كان يفعل غالبية اليهود

فهي لو خُيِّرَت بين البلدتين، لكانت اختارت بحمدون لأنّ فيها كنيساً جميلاً. أما كنيس عاليه فجميلٌ أيضاً لكنه أقل إتقاناً. واستبعدت مراراً حتى التفكير باحتمال أن تصطاف في دير القمر لو تحسّنت حال زوجها، لأنها بلدة شوفيّة بعيدة نسبياً بالرغم من أنّ طبيعتها وطقسها وكنيسها من الروائع

وكبديل عن منزل جبلي تحولُ أحوالُها دونَ الحصول عليه، نشرت على شرفة منزلها في بيروت أوعية فخّارية رتّبتها بطريقة تسمح لها بالتجوّل بينها، وزرعتها بكل أنواع الشتول، من بينها شتول تكبر كالأشجار المتوسطة وأخرى تزهر وتبقى خضراء طيلة فصل الشتاء

ورفعت على "درابزون" شرفتها الحديدية أوعية مستطيلة زرعت فيها الخبيز والورد. وبات منظر شرفة أستير الخضراء مكمّلاً للخضار المقابل في قصر فرعون الأثري. فمنزل أستير يقع في منطقة زقاق البلاط في النزلة المؤدية إلى شارع وادي أبو جميل على شمال قصر فرعون

أما الخواجة فرح، زوج أستير، فقد كان يعمل في إحدى الدوائر الرسمية موظفاً عادياً، وهو الذي كان يتولّى ريّ المزروعات على شرفة منزله بعد غروب الشمس

ومع تكاثر الأحواض التي زرعتها زوجته، عمد إلى تبديل خزان المياه على "التتخيتة" داخل المنزل بواحد أكبر حجماً. واشترى نربيجاً يسمح له بالوصول إلى كل الأحواض التي انتشرت على الشرفة الرئيسية في المنزل، والتي كانت تلفّ واجهته الأساسية.

وعندما ينتهي من مهمة الريّ، يجلس مطمئناً إلى أنه نفّذ المهمة، منتظراً انتهاء تحضير زوجته للنرجيلة. وباتت رائحة التبغ المحترق المتسلّلة إلى منازل الجيران المقابلة، إشارة إلى بدء سهرة الخواجة وإعلاناً بالترحيب بمن يرغب بالانضمام إلى تلك الجلسة في حديقة آل فرح الجميلة.

كانت ليلى، ابنة جيران الخواجة فرح الكبرى، تحب هي الأخرى جلسات الشرفات المسائية. وقد ثبّتت كرسياً على شرفة منزلها تجلس عليه مساءً لمتابعة أحاديث جيرانها المشتّتة، والتي تصدر من شرفات عدّة. وتتحول جلسة الشرفة هذه عند ليلى صيفاً إلى مكان الجلوس المفضل

وليلى تسكن في البناء المقابل لبناء الخواجة فرح، وعلى نفس المستوى. وهي تكاد تعرف عدد الأوراق الجديدة في كل شتلة عند آل فرح لكثرة ما كانت تمضي وقتاً في مراقبتها. فقد توقفت ليلى عن الذهاب إلى المدرسة بعد مرض والدتها، وباتت لا تخرج كثيراً حتى تحوّلت شرفتها إلى متنفّسها شبه الوحيد

لم يكن على شرفة منزل ليلى سوى شجرة كاوتشوك كبرت بشكل عشوائي نتيجة الإهمال. فجميلة والدة ليلى لم تكن تحب الشتول، وكانت تعلل ذلك، رداً على أسئلة ابنتها والجيران، بضيق المساحة والخشية من تكاثر الحشرات

وقد جاءت أستير يوماً بمقصّها ومن دون أن يطلب منها أحد، وقلّمت تلك الكاوتشوكة في شهر التقليم في شباط، علّها تكبر بطريقة أنظم. فتلك الشجرة تطل على شرفتها وهي رغبت حتى في تنظيم المنظر المحيط. ورغم العلاقة التي تربطها بجارتها لم تنجح في إقناعها بنثر بعض البزور في أحواض وعدتها بأن تؤمّنها لها للمزيد من الإقناع، لأنّ الوردَ على الشرفة جميل ويضيفُ حياة إلى المكان
[/FIELDSET]
 
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  • Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
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    [FIELDSET=Orhan Pamuk ~ My Name is Red]


    Thus we brought together the pages of two illustrated manuscripts, one that was being completed secretly and the other openly, two books with different stories and subjects, illustrated in two distinct styles; that is, deceased Enishte’s book and the Book of Festivities recounting our prince’s circumcision ceremony, whose creation was under my control. Black and I looked intently wherever I moved my magnifying lens:

    1. In the pages of the Book of Festivities, we first studied the open mouth of the fox whose pelt a master of the furrier’s guild, in a red caftan and purple sash, held on his lap as the guild passed before Our Sultan, watching the parade from a loge made specifically for the event. Unmistakably, Olive had made both the fox’s teeth, which were individually distinguishable, and the teeth in Enishte’s illustration of Satan, an ominous creature, half-demon and half-giant, that appeared to have come from Samarkand.

    2. On a particularly joyous day of the festivities, below Our Sultan’s loge overlooking the Hippodrome, a division of impoverished frontier ghazis appeared in tattered clothes. One of their lot made a plea: “My Exalted Sultan, we, your heroic soldiers, fell captive as we fought the infidel in the name of our religion and were only able to gain our freedom by leaving a number of our brethren behind as hostages; that is, we were set free in order to amass ransom. However, when we arrived back in Istanbul, we found everything so expensive that we’ve been unable to collect the money to save our brethren who languish as prisoners of the kaffirs. We’re at the mercy of your aid. Please grant us gold or slaves that we might take back to exchange for their freedom.” Stork clearly made the nails of the lazy dog off to the side – glaring with one open eye at Our Sultan, at our poor, destitute ghazis and at the Persian and Tatar ambassadors in the Hippodrome – as well as the nails of the dog occupying a corner of the scene depicting the adventures of the Gold Coin in Enishte’s book.

    3. Among the jugglers spinning eggs on pieces of wood and turning somersaults before Our Sultan was a bald man with bare claves wearing a purple vest, who played a tambourine as he sat off to one side on a red carpet; this man held the instrument exactly the same way the woman held a large brass serving tray in the illustration of Red in Enishte’s book: doubtless the work of Olive.

    4. As the cooks’ guild pushed back Our Sultan, they were cooking stuffed cabbage with meat and onions in a cauldron resting on a stove in their cart. The master cooks accompanying the cart stood on pink earth resting their stew pots on blue stones; these stones were rendered by the same artist who made the red ones on dark-blue earth above which floated the half-ghostly creature in the illustration that Enishte called Death: the unmistakable work of Butterfly.

    5. Mounted Tatar messengers brought word that the Persian Shah’s armies had begun to mobilize for another campaign against the Ottomans, who thereupon razed to the ground the exquisite observation kiosk of the Persian ambassador who’d repeatedly affirmed to Our Sultan, Refuge of the World, in a cascade of pleasantries, that the Shah was His friend and harbored nothing but brotherly affection for Him. During this episode of wrath and destruction, water bearers ran out to settle the dust raised in the Hippodrome, and a group of men appeared shouldering leather sacks full of linseed oil to pour over a mob ready to attack the ambassador, in hopes of pacifying it. The raised feet of the water bearers and of the men carrying sacks of linseed oil were made by the same artist who painted the raised feet of charging soldiers in the depiction of Red: also the work of Butterfly.


    [/FIELDSET]
     
    Picasso

    Picasso

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    [FIELDSET= غاستون باشلار ~ الماءُ والأحلام ~ المنظمة العربية للترجمة ]

    أُكابدُ الاكتئابَ نفسَه من جديدٍ أمامَ المياه الساكنة، وهو اكتئابٌ خاصّ كلونِ رامةٍ في غابةٍ رطبة، اكتئاب من دونِ ضيقٍ، اكتئاب حالِم، بطيء، هادئ. غالباً ما يغدو تفصيلٌ تافهٌ، في نظري، رمزاً نفسيّاً جوهريّاً. وهكذا فرائحةُ النعناع المائي غالباً ما تستدعي في ذاتي نوعاً من التراسُل الوجودي الذي يجعلُني أعتقد أنّ الحياة مجرّد نبات عِطري، وأنها تفوحُ من الوجود فَوْحَ الرائحة من المادة، وأنّ على نبتة الساقية أن تنشرَ روحَ الماء ... لو كان عليَّ أن أعيش، من جهتي، أسطورة تمثال كونديلاك الفلسفية الذي يجد أوّل كونٍ وأوّل وعي في الروائح، فبدَلاً من أن أقول ما قاله التمثال "أنا رائحةُ ورد"، لَقُلْتُ: "أنا أوّلاً رائحةُ نعناع، رائحةُ نعناع الماء"، لأنّ الكائن، قبلَ كُلِّ شيء، يقظة، وهو يستيقظُ في وعيِ انطباعٍ استثنائي. والفرد ليس مجموع انطباعاته العامّة، بل هو مجموع انطباعاته المُتفرِّدة. وهكذا تتولّد فينا "الأسرار المألوفة" التي تتجدّد في "رموزٍ نادرة". ففي جِوارِ الماء وأزهاره فهمتُ بصورةٍ أفضل أنّ حلُمَ اليقظة كَوْنٌ فَوّاح، ونسمةٌ عَطِرة تخرجُ من الأشياء بوساطةِ حالِم. فإذا ما أردتُ أن أدرسَ صُوَرَ الماء، فعليَّ إذاً أن أعزُوَ دورَها المُهَيمن إلى نهرِ بلدي وينابيعه

    وُلِدتُ في بلَدِ السواقي والأنهار، في بُقعَةٍ من مُقاطعة شامبانيا العامرة بالوديان، في منطقة الفالاج، وقد سُمِّيَتْ بهذا الاسم نظراً لكثرةِ وِديانها. إنّ أجملَ مسكَنٍ في نظري هو ذاكَ الذي يقعُ في جَوْفِ وادٍ، على ضفّةِ مياهٍ جارية، في الظلِّ الضئيل لأشجارِ السَّوحر والصفصاف. وحينَ يَحِلُّ شهر تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر مع سحاباتِ ضَبابهِ على النهر...

    كانت متعتي أيضاً في مُرافقةِ السواقي، والمشي على طول الحَوافّ، بالاتجاه الصحيح، اتجاه الماء الجاري، الماء الذي يقود الحياة إلى مكانٍ آخر، إلى القرية المُجاوِرة​
    [/FIELDSET]
     
    Chanklish

    Chanklish

    Well-Known Member
    50 shades of grey


    "When did you start your period, Anastasia?" he asks out of the blue, gazing down at me.
    "Err… yesterday," I mumble in my highly aroused state.
    "Good." He releases me and turns me around.
"Hold on to the sink," he orders and pulls my hips back again, like he did in the playroom, so I'm bending down. He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string… what! And gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Holy f--k. Sweet mother of all… Jeez.
    And then he's inside me… ah!
     
    Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    [FIELDSET=The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevski]

    He remembered among other things that he always had one minute just before the epileptic fit (if it came on while he was awake), when suddenly in the midst of sadness, spiritual darkness and oppression, there seemed at moments a flash of light in his brain, and with extraordinary impetus all his vital forces suddenly began working at their highest tension. The sense of life, the consciousness of self, were multiplied ten times at these moments which passed like a flash of lightning. His mind and his heart were flooded with extraordinary light; all his uneasiness, all his doubts, all his anxieties were relieved at once; they were all merged in a lofty calm, full of serene, harmonious joy and hope. But these moments, these flashes, were only the prelude of that final second (it was never more than a second) with which the fit began. That second was, of course, unendurable. Thinking of that moment later, when he was all right again, he often said to himself that all these gleams and flashes of the highest sensation of life and self-consciousness, and therefore also of the highest form of existence, were nothing but disease, the interruption of the normal condition; and if so, it was not at all the highest form of being, but on the contrary must be reckoned the lowest. And yet he came at last to an extremely paradoxical conclusion. “What if it is disease?” he decided at last. “What does it matter that it is an abnormal intensity, if the result, if the minute of sensation, remembered and analysed afterwards in health, turns out to be the acme of harmony and beauty, and gives a feeling, unknown and undivined till then, of completeness, of proportion, of reconciliation, and of ecstatic devotional merging in the highest synthesis of life?” These vague expressions seemed to him very comprehensible, though too weak. That it really was “beauty and worship,” that it really was the “highest synthesis of life” he could not doubt, and could not admit the possibility of doubt. It was not as though he saw abnormal and unreal visions of some sort at that moment, as from hashish, opium, or wine, destroying the reason and distorting the soul. He was quite capable of judging of that when the attack was over. These moments were only an extraordinary quickening of self-consciousness – if the condition was to be expressed in one word – and at the same time of the direct sensation of existence in the most intense degree. Since at that second, that is at the very last conscious moment before the fit, he had time to say to himself clearly and consciously, “Yes, for this moment one might give one’s whole life!” then without doubt that moment was really worth the whole of life. He did not insist on the dialectical part of his argument, however. Stupefaction, spiritual darkness, idiocy stood before him conspicuously as the consequence of these “higher moment; seriously, of course, he could not have disputed it. There was undoubtedly a mistake in his conclusion – that is, in his estimate of that minute, but the reality of the sensation somewhat perplexed him. What was he to make of that reality? For the very thing had happened; he actually had said to himself at that second, that, for the infinite happiness he had felt in it, that second really might well be worth the whole of life. “At that moment,” as he told Rogozhin one day in Moscow at the time when they used to meet there, “at that moment I seem somehow to understand the extraordinary saying that there shall be no more time. Probably,” he added, smiling, “this is the very second which was not long enough for the water to be split out of Mahomet’s pitcher, though the epileptic prophet had time to gaze at all the habitations of Allah.”[/FIELDSET]
     
    Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    [FIELDSET=~ Paradise of Cities]

    Venice, then, as the nineteenth century began, presented a sorry picture indeed. Her character too had changed, as well it might. Gone were the days and nights of wine and roses; the god Mammon had been dethroned. All Venice had left to her was her beauty, still almost unimpaired, and her memories. And yet, in a strange way, these were enough. Not only did they keep her alive; but gradually, as the new century got under way, they were once again to attract men and women from all over the world to the city – no longer the simple seekers after pleasure (for there were by now many European cities in which far more varied delights were available) but those who instead sought inspiration of the kind that only Venice could give. They, with Venice herself, are the subject of this book; but before we come to them we must briefly return for a closer look at the man who dominated the first years of the new century even more completely than he had the last years of the old: Napoleon Bonaparte.


    L’anema ti ga intrepida, alto el talento;
    El cor magnanimo, e l’ardimento
    Più forte ancora del nostro leon.
    Torna presto, Napoleon!

    ~ Gondoliers’ song​

    [/FIELDSET]
     
    Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    [FIELDSET=The Book of Disquiet ~ Fernando Pessoa]



    I was born in a time when the majority of young people had lost faith in God, for the same reason their elders had had it – without knowing why. And since the human spirit naturally tends to make judgments based on feeling instead of reason, most of these young people chose Humanity to replace God. I, however, am the sort of person who is always on the fringe of what he belongs to, seeing not only the multitude he’s a part of but also the wide-open spaces around it. That’s why I didn’t give up God as completely as they did, and I never accepted Humanity. I reasoned that God, while improbable, might exist, in which case he should be worshipped; whereas Humanity, being a mere biological idea and signifying nothing more than the animal species we belong to, was no more deserving of worship than any other animal species. The cult of Humanity, with its rites of Freedom and Equality, always struck me as a revival of those ancient cults in which gods were like animals or had animal heads.

    And so, not knowing how to believe in God and unable to believe in an aggregate of animals, I, along, with other people on the fringe, kept a distance from things, a distance commonly called Decadence. Decadence is the total loss of unconsciousness, which is the very basis of life. Could it think, the heart would stop beating.

    For those few like me who live without knowing how to have life, what’s left but renunciation as our way and contemplation as our destiny? Not knowing nor able to know what religion life is, since faith isn’t acquired through reason, and unable to have faith in or even react to the abstract notion of man, we’re left with the aesthetic contemplation of life as our reason for having a soul. Impassive to the solemnity of any and all worlds, indifferent to the divine, and disdainers of what is human, we uselessly surrender ourselves to pointless sensation, cultivated in a refined Epicureanism, as befits our cerebral nerves.

    Retaining from science only its fundamental precept – that everything is subject to fatal laws, which we cannot freely react to since the laws themselves determine all reactions – and seeing how this precept concurs with the more ancient one of the divine fatality of things, we abdicate from every effort like the weak-bodied from athletic endeavours, and we hunch over the book of sensations like scrupulous scholars of feeling.

    Taking nothing seriously and recognizing our sensations as the only reality we have for certain, we take refuge there, exploring them like large unknown countries. And if we apply ourselves diligently not only to aesthetic contemplation but also to the expression of its methods and results, it’s because the poetry or prose we write – devoid of any desire to move anyone else’s will or to mould anyone’s understanding – is merely like when a reader reads out loud to fully objectify the subjective pleasure of reading.

    We’re well aware that every creative work is imperfect and that our most dubious aesthetic contemplation will be the one whose object is what we write. But everything is imperfect. There’s no sunset so lovely it couldn’t be yet lovelier, no gentle breeze bringing us sleep that couldn’t bring a yet sounder sleep. And so, contemplators of statues and mountains alike, enjoying both books and the passing days, and dreaming all things so as to transform them into our own substance, we will also write down descriptions and analyses which, when they’re finished, will become extraneous things that we can enjoy as if they happened along one day.

    This isn’t the viewpoint of pessimists like Vigny, for whom life was a prison in which he wove straw to keep busy and forget. To be a pessimist is to see everything tragically, an attitude that’s both excessive and uncomfortable. While it’s true that we ascribe no value to the work we produce and that we produce it to keep busy, we’re not like the prisoner who busily weaves straw to forget about his fate; we’re like the girl who embroiders pillows for no other reason than to keep busy.

    I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. I don’t know where it will take me, because I don’t know anything. I could see this inn as a prison, for I’m compelled to wait in it; I could see it as a social centre, for it’s here that I meet others. But I’m neither impatient nor common. I leave who will to stay shut up in their rooms, sprawled out on beds where they sleeplessly wait, and I leave who will to chat in the parlours, from where their songs and voices conveniently drift out here to me. I’m sitting at the door, feasting my eyes and ears on the colours and sounds of the landscape, and I softly sing – for myself alone – wispy songs I compose while waiting.

    Night will fall on us all and the coach will pull up. I enjoy the breeze I’m given and the soul I was given to enjoy it with, and I no longer question or seek. If what I write in the book of travelers can, when read by others at some future date, also entertain them on their journey, then fine. If they don’t read it, or are not entertained, that’s fine too.
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    Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    [FIELDSET=The Nazi & The Psychiatrist ~ Jack El-Hai]

    It was a plum assignment, a rendezvous with the men widely regarded as the worst criminals of the century. Kelley's period as the supervisor of several psychiatric hospitals had taught him that aberrant behavior often had mysterious and fascinating sources, and he set his own goals for his stint in this holding pen. He arrived eager to probe the prisoners for signs of a flaw common to Nazi leaders: the willingness to commit evil acts. Did they share a mental disorder or a psychiatric cause for their behavior? Was there a "Nazi personality" that accounted for their heinous misdeeds? Kelley intended to find out. "The devastation of Europe, the deaths of millions, the near-destruction of modern culture will have gone for naught if we do not draw the right conclusions about the forces which produced such chaos," Kelley later wrote. "We must learn the why of the Nazi success so we can take steps to prevent the recurrence of such evil."

    Kelley had formed immediate impressions of Goring. From his meetings with the other Nazi prisoners, he recognized that Goring "was undoubtedly the most outstanding personality in the jail because he was intelligent," as Kelley wrote in his medical notes. "He was well developed mentally - well rounded - a huge, powerful sort of body when he was covered up with his cape and you couldn't see the fat jiggle as he walked, a good looking individual from a distance, a very powerful dynamic individual." But having also lightly touched on politics, the war, and the rise of Nazism during their initial cell-bound conversations, Kelley was not blind to Goring's dark side. The ex-Reichsmarschall displayed ruthlessness, narcissism, and a coldhearted disregard for anyone beyond his close circle of family and friends. That very combination for characteristics present in Goring - the admirable and the sinister - heightened Kelley's interest in him. Only such an attractive, capable, and smart man, who had smashed and snuffed out the lives of so many people, could point Kelley toward the regions of the human soul that he urgently wanted to explore.

    [/FIELDSET]
     
    Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
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    ... before I went in to say good morning to my aunt I would be kept waiting a moment in the outer room where the sun, wintry still, had crept in to warm itself before the fire, which was already alight between its two bricks and plastering the whole room with a smell of soot, turning it into one of those great rustic open hearths, or one of those canopied mantelpieces in country houses, beneath which one sits hoping that in the world outside it is raining or snowing, hoping almost for a catastrophic deluge to add the romance of being in winter quarters to the comfort of a snug retreat.

    In Search of Lost Time ~ Marcel Proust
     
    Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
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    I found the whole path throbbing with the fragrance of hawthorn-blossom. The hedge resembled a series of chapels, whose walls were no longer visible under the mountains of flowers that were heaped upon their altars; while underneath, the sun cast a square of light upon the ground, as though it had shone in upon them through a window; the scent that swept out over me from them was as rich, and as circumscribed in its range, as though I had been standing before the Lady-altar, and the flowers, themselves adorned also, held out each its little bunch of glittering stamens with an air of inattention, fine, radiating ‘nerves’ in the flamboyant style of architecture, like those which, in church, framed the stair to the rood-loft or closed the perpendicular tracery of the windows, but here spread out into pools of fleshy white, like strawberry-beds in spring. How simple and rustic, in comparison with these, would seem the dog-roses which, in a few weeks’ time, would be climbing the same hillside path in the heat of the sun, dressed in the smooth silk of their blushing pink bodices, which would be undone and scattered by the first breath of wind.

    But it was in vain that I lingered before the hawthorns, to breathe in, to marshal! before my mind (which knew not what to make of it), to lose in order to rediscover their invisible and unchanging odour, to absorb myself in the rhythm which disposed their flowers here and there with the lightheartedness of youth, and at intervals as unexpected as certain intervals of music; they offered me an indefinite continuation of the same charm, in an inexhaustible profusion, but without letting me delve into it any more deeply, like those melodies which one can play over a hundred times in succession without coming any nearer to their secret. I turned away from them for a moment so as to be able to return to them with renewed strength. My eyes followed up the slope which, outside the hedge, rose steeply to the fields, a poppy that had strayed and been lost by its fellows, or a few cornflowers that had fallen lazily behind, and decorated the ground here and there with their flowers like the border of a tapestry, in which may be seen at intervals hints of the rustic theme which appears triumphant in the panel itself; infrequent still, spaced out like the scattered houses which herald the approach of a village, they betokened to me the vast expanse of waving corn beneath the fleecy clouds, and the sight of a single poppy hoisting upon its slender rigging and holding against the breeze its scarlet ensign, over the buoy of rich black earth from which it sprang, made my heart beat as does a wayfarer’s when he perceives, upon some low-lying ground, an old and broken boat which is being caulked and made seaworthy, and cries out, although he has not yet caught sight of it, ‘The Sea!’

    And then I returned to my hawthorns, and stood before them as one stands before those masterpieces of painting which, one imagines, one will be better able to ‘take in’ when one has looked away, for a moment, at something else; but in vain did I shape my fingers into a frame, so as to have nothing but the hawthorns before my eyes; the sentiment which they aroused in me remained obscure and vague, struggling and failing to free itself, to float across and become one with the flowers. They themselves offered me no enlightenment, and I could not call upon any other flowers to satisfy this mysterious longing. And then, inspiring me with that rapture which we feel on seeing a work by our favourite painter quite different from any of those that we already know, or, better still, when some one has taken us and set us down in front of a picture of which we have hitherto seen no more than a pencilled sketch, or when a piece of music which we have heard played over on the piano bursts out again in our ears with all the splendour and fullness of an orchestra, my grandfather called me to him, and, pointing to the hedge of Tansonville, said: ‘You are fond of hawthorns; just look at this pink one; isn’t it pretty?’

    And it was indeed a hawthorn, but one whose flowers were pink, and lovelier even than the white. It, too, was in holiday attire, for one of those days which are the only true holidays, the holy days of religion, because they are not appointed by any capricious accident, as secular holidays are appointed, upon days which are not specially ordained for such observances, which have nothing about them that is essentially festal—but it was attired even more richly than the rest, for the flowers which clung to its branches, one above another, so thickly as to leave no part of the tree undecorated, like the tassels wreathed about the crook of a rococo shepherdess, were every one of them ‘in colour,’ and consequently of a superior quality, by the aesthetic standards of Combray, to the ‘plain,’ if one was to judge by the scale of prices at the ‘stores’ in the Square, or at Camus’s, where the most expensive biscuits were those whose sugar was pink. And for my own part I set a higher value on cream cheese when it was pink, when I had been allowed to tinge it with crushed strawberries. And these flowers had chosen precisely the colour of some edible and delicious thing, or of some exquisite addition to one’s costume for a great festival, which colours, inasmuch as they make plain the reason for their superiority, are those whose beauty is most evident to the eyes of children, and for that reason must always seem more vivid and more natural than any other tints, even after the child’s mind has realised that they offer no gratification to the appetite, and have not been selected by the dressmaker. And, indeed, I had felt at once, as I had felt before the white blossom, but now still more marvelling, that it was in no artificial manner, by no device of human construction, that the festal intention of these flowers was revealed, but that it was Nature herself who had spontaneously expressed it (with the simplicity of a woman from a village shop, labouring at the decoration of a street altar for some procession) by burying the bush in these little rosettes, almost too ravishing in colour, this rustic ‘pompadour.’ High up on the branches, like so many of those tiny rose-trees, their pots concealed in jackets of paper lace, whose slender stems rise in a forest from the altar on the greater festivals, a thousand buds were swelling and opening, paler in colour, but each disclosing as it burst, as at the bottom of a cup of pink marble, its blood-red stain, and suggesting even more strongly than the full-blown flowers the special, irresistible quality of the hawthorn-tree, which, wherever it budded, wherever it was about to blossom, could bud and blossom in pink flowers alone.

    In Search of Lost Time ~ Marcel Proust
     
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