Saturday, November 20, 2010

-    I walked through the mountains today. The weather was damp, and the entire region was gray. But the road was soft and in places very clean. At first I had my coat on; soon, however, I pulled it off, folded it together, and laid it upon my arm. The walk on the wonderful road gave me more and ever more pleasure; first it went up and then descended again. The mountains were huge, they seemed to go around. The whole mountainous world appeared to me like an enormous theater. The road snuggled up splendidly to the mountainsides. Then I came down into a deep ravine, a river roared at my feet, a train rushed past me with magnificent white smoke. The road went through the ravine like a smooth white stream, and as I walked on, to me it was as if the narrow valley were bending and winding around itself. Gray clouds lay on the mountains as though that were their resting place. I met a young traveler with a rucksack on his back, who asked if I had seen two other young fellows. No, I said. Had I come here from very far? Yes, I said, and went farther on my way. Not a long time, and I saw and heard the two young wanderers pass by with music. A village was especially beautiful with humble dwellings set thickly under the white cliffs. I encountered a few carts, otherwise nothing, and I had seen some children on the highway. We don't need to see anything out of the ordinary. We already see so much.

- Robert Walser
A Little Ramble, 1914
tr. by Tom Whalen

Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Aunt May never mentioned that again. But she lost no time telling his father about the rabbit. -I scarcely know how to tell you, she commenced, and when Gwyon looked satisfactorily alarmed she went on, -Your son has learned, somewhere, to swear. It's scarcely surprising, with a grandfather who talks to him just the way he talks to his cronies in the saloon, and fills him full of all kinds of drivel...She went on to explain that she had taken a toy away from Wyatt every time this happened (being lenient), until he was left with only one, a cloth rabbit. (For the truth of that, the words which cost him those treasures were darn and heck: she seemed to know their euphemisitic derivation well enough.)
    -And then, the last straw, I...I can scarcely repeat his words. Though Heaven knows how they are engraved on my memory. He knew I was in the room, he was sitting on the floor with his last toy, this rabbit, and he said...your son said, as clearly as I'm speaking now, he said, "You're the by-Goddest rabbit I ever dam saw!" At which, hearing herself speak this, Aunt May almost sobbed crying out, -What kind of Christian mi...mish...minister do you think he will make?

- William Gaddis
The Recognitions