Uit: Brideshead Revisited
“From the moment he arrived the newcomer took charge, talking in a luxurious, self-taught stammer; teasing; caricaturing the guests at his previous luncheon; telling lubricious anecdotes of Paris and Berlin; and doing more than entertain–transfiguring the party, shedding a vivid, false light of eccentricity upon everyone so that the three prosaic Etonians seemed suddenly to become creatures of his fantasy.
This, I did not need telling, was Anthony Blanche, the “æsthete” par excellence, a byword of iniquity from Cherwell Edge to Somerville, a young man who seemed to me, then, fresh from the sombre company of the College Essay Society, ageless as a lizard, as foreign as a Martian. He had been pointed out to me often in the streets, as he moved with his own peculiar stateliness, as though he had not fully accustomed himself to coat and trousers and was more at his ease in heavy, embroidered robes; I had heard his voice in the George challenging the conventions; and now meeting him, under the spell of Sebastian. I found myself enjoying him voraciously, like the fine piece of cookery he was.
After luncheon he stood on the balcony with a megaphone which had appeared surprisingly among the bric-à-brac of Sebastian’s room, and in languishing, sobbing tones recited passages from The Waste Land to the sweatered and muffled throng that was on its way to the river.
“‘I, Tiresias, have foresuffered all,'” he sobbed to them from the Venetian arches–
“Enacted on this same d-divan or b-bed,
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall
And walked among the l-l-lowest of the dead….”
And then, stepping lightly into the room, “How I have surprised them! All b-boatmen are Grace Darlings to me.”
We sat on sipping Cointreau while the mildest and most detached of the Etonians sang “Home they brought her warrior dead” to his own accompaniment on the harmonium.
It was four o’clock before we broke up.
Anthony Blanche was the first to go. He took formal and complimentary leave of each of us in turn. To Sebastian he said: “My dear, I should like to stick you full of barbed arrows like a p-p-pin-cushion,” and to me: “I think it’s perfectly brilliant of Sebastian to have discovered you. Where do you lurk? I shall come down your burrow and ch-chivvy you out like an old st-t-toat.”
The others left soon after him. I rose to go with them, but Sebastian said: “Have some more Cointreau,” so I stayed and later he said, “I must go to the Botanical Gardens.”
Je zou het verstand moeten verliezen.
Zoals de zelfmoordenaar als hij achteruit leeft.
Haal het puntje van de i,
maar zet het terug, mocht de plek leeg blijven.
Het is beter als alles blijft zoals ik het aantrof,
het was niet eens zo slecht.
Veracht het onrustige bed, slaap op de grond.
Dan zal gisteren weer heel zijn.
Het was een geschenk. Ik hoor de inslag
zelfs voordat het valt, al veel eerder.
Een engel zweeft voorbij, de orde wordt hersteld,
Het papier laat los, het onderwerp valt eruit.
Begin dan gewoon opnieuw
Zoals de zelfmoordenaar als hij achteruit leeft
Vergeet de hele zaak hier
Schrijf memoblaadjes: melk, brood
Vertaald door Frans Roumen