Sonnez les matines!
Sonnez les matines!
Ding dang dong
Ding dang dong...
This is the ship’s endless song.
This is the engine of the Diderot: the canon repeated endlessly...
Leaving Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, midnight,
November 7, 1947, S.S. Diderot, for Rotterdam.
Rain, rain and dark skies all day.
We arrive at dusk, in a drizzle. Everything wet, dark, slippery. Dock building huge, dimly ht by tiny yellow bulbs at far intervals. Black geometry angled against dark sky. Cluster lamps glowing—they are loading cardboard cartons labelled Product of Canada.
(This morning, walking through the forest, a moment of intense emotion: the path, sodden, a morass of mud, the sad dripping trees and ochreous fallen leaves: here it all is. I cannot believe I won’t be walking down the path tomorrow.)
Primrose and myself are the sole passengers aboard the freighter. The crew are all Bretons: the ship, French: its build, American. A Liberty ship about 5000 tons, 10 knots, electric welded hull.
Longshoremen leave: skipper comes aboard. Sense of departure increases. Nothing happens for hours. We drink rum in cabin: Chief Gunner’s cabin, between skipper and wireless operator. Primrose wearing all her Mexican silver bracelets, calmly tense, electrically beautiful and excited.
Then: the Immigration officers, very courteous and cheery. All had cognac together in the skipper’s cabin.
Then: bells rang, hawsers were cast off, shouts from bridge: slowly, suddenly, we were moving. The little strip of black, oily water widened... The black cloudy sky was breaking and stars were brilliant overhead.
The Northern Cross.
High salt wind, clear blue sky, hellishly rough sea (zigzagged with a lashing tide rip) through the Juan de Fuca Strait.
—Whale geometry of Cape Flattery: finny phallic furious face of Flattery.
Cape Flattery, with spume drenched rocks, like incinerators in sawmills.
—Significance of sailing on the 7th. The point is that my character Martin, in the novel I’m furiously trying to get a first draft of, (knowing damned well I’d never do any work on this voyage, which is to last precisely 7 weeks) had dreaded starting a journey on the 7th of any month. To begin with we were not going to leave for Europe until January. Then the message comes that our sailing has been canceled and we’ll have to take advantage of the Diderot’s sailing on the 6th if we want to go at all. But she doesn’t—she sails on the 7th. Martin Trumbaugh’s really fatal date is November 15. So long as we don’t leave Los Angeles on Nov. 15 for the long haul, all will be well. Why do I say that? The further point is that the novel is about a character who becomes enmeshed in the plot of the novel he has written, as I did in Mexico. But now I am becoming enmeshed in die plot of a novel I have scarcely begun. Idea is not new, at least so far as enmeshment with characters is concerned. Goethe, Wilhelm van Sholz, “The Race With a Shadow.” Pirandello, etc. But did these people ever have it happen to them?
Turn this into triumph: the furies into mercies.
—The inerrable inconceivably desolate sense of having no right to be where you are: the billows of inexhaustible anguish haunted by the insatiable albatross of self.
There is an albatross, really.
Martin thought of the misty winter sunrise, through the windows of their little cabin; the sun, a tiny little sun, framed in one of the window panes, like a miniature, unreal, white, with three trees in it, though no other trees were to be seen, and reflected in the inlet, in a high calm icy tide. Fear something will happen to house in our absence. Novel is to be called, Dark as the Grave Wherein my Friend is Laid. Keep quiet about house or will spoil voyage for Primrose. Intolerable behaviour: remember Fielding with dropsy, being hauled on board in a basket on voyage to Portugal, Gentleman and sense of humor. Had himself tapped for water every now and then. H’m.
This desolate sense of alienation possibly universal sense of dispossession.
The cramped cabin one’s obvious place on earth.
Chief Gunner’s Cabin.
Curious agony of not having tipped steward. Whom to tip? Not wishing to insult anybody.
Strindberg’s horror at using people. Using one’s wife as a rabbit for vivisection. Seems more honorable to use yourself. This idea unfortunately not new either.
Fitzgerald would have been saved by life in our shack, Martin thought (who had been reading The Crack Up). The Last Laocoon. Impossible to find anybody less like Fitzgerald than Martin. Sad that F. hated die English. To my mind his latter work represents essentially best qualities of chivalry and decency now too often lacking in the English themselves. This quality true essentially of soul of America. Can this be expressed without obsequiousness? Or good manners, with fidelity to the ghastly facade of Deathpic and Spaceclack, pulpy enemies of the earth and mankind. Read Alc, the weekly boozemagazine, etc.
—Would like to express cultural debt of England to America. It is enormous, even bigger than our national one, if possible. But what use have we made of it? Public school boys fishing vicariously for Hemingway’s trout. Or Deathpic and Spaceclack talk. The English are now so loathed in Canada we are rapidly becoming a tragic minority. Starve to death in Stanley Park rather than ask for help. It happens every day. Canada, whose heart is England but whose soul is Labrador. Of course I am a Scotsman. As a matter of fact I am Nor-wegian.
—Played by Louis Armstrong and his orchestra. Art Tatum at piano. Joe Venuti violin. Battement de Tambours.
And I think of O’Neill. Iceman is wonderful play. Wonder if similarity to the theme of The Wild Duck was conscious, in which drink is justified as “life illusion.” I wish O’Neill had written more plays about the sea. The Norwegian barque? My grandfather, captain of the windjammer, Scottish Isles, went down with his ship in the Indian Ocean. He was bringing my mother a cockatoo. Remember the story told about him by Old Hands in Liverpool. The owners loaded his ship badly: he complained: was forced to take it out. So he sailed it right bang down to the Cape, and right bang back again to Liverpool and made them load it correctly.
—“The man who went to sea because he read The Hairy Ape and the Moon of the Caribees.” (That was me twenty years ago. Accounts partly for my depression on board, Diderot is totally different freighter to any in my experience though. Liberty Ship—but really beautiful in my opinion, if of romantic slowness. Food is superb; and great gulps of pinard at every meal. A wonderful trip, really.)
—A lone black albatross, like a flying machete—strictly 2 machetes... Albatross like a distant lone left wing three quarter at rugby, practising...
An iron bird, with sabre wings. Actually is black albatross, though captain says no.
But the captain, for once, is wrong. It is not a shearwater, though there is a sooty shearwater behind. Primrose says. Melville’s hatred of shearwaters: birds of bad omen. Nonsense. Hope we do not sail on the 15th of November from Los Angeles.
We have crossed the border and are off the State of Washington.
ALBATROSS SLAIN, BRINGS GRIEF, PAIN
(Excerpt from a fragment of newspaper, left by steward in cabin):
Shaft Snapped, Leg Broken, Net Fouled
When Sea Tradition Defied.
Port Angeles, Wash. (A.P.)—A university of Washington faculty member who defied the tradition of the sea knows better now. His sad story came to light when die U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s exploratory vessel put in here. The university research assistant, John Firmin, started it when he sighted a white albatross flying near the vessel, engaged in exploratory deep sea trawling off Cape Flattery. Firmin asked permission to shoot it and bring it to the university museum as the first known specimen of a white albatross seen in Washington coast waters.
The seven crew men immediately shouted “No!” reminding Firmin of the fate of Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner” and the old tradition of bad luck which follows shooting an albatross. But because of the speciman’s rarity—etc.
See, conversely, newspaper clipping I’ve been saving:
Sydney, Friday. An English seaman who fell overboard from a liner owes his life to an albatross. It landed on his chest and guided a life-boat to him.
Seaman John Oakley, 53, of Southampton, fell from the stern of the 20,204 ton Southern Cross 10 miles off the New South Wales coast yesterday.
A little boy, a passenger, saw him fall and told the deck officer. The ship turned about and a lifeboat was lowered.
Oakley was obscured by waves until the albatross landed on his chest and served as a beacon to the rescuers.—Reuters.
—The albatross is one of the largest flying birds in the world with a wing span of 10 ft—12 ft and weighs about 17 pounds.
Now there are three shearwaters.
Golden sunset in a blue sky.
Several large green meteors from Gemini.
Nov. 9. Primrose and SigbjØrn Wilderness are happy in their cramped Chief Gunner’s cabin.
Martin Trumbaugh however is not very happy.
Trumbaugh: named after Trumbauer—Frankie. Beider-becke, et al.
A dead storm petrel on the bows, with blue feet like a bat.
Off the coast of Oregon.
Thousands of white gulls. The crew are feeding them. Will our gulls Starve without us? Incredible jewel-like clearness of some days in November in the shack, a bell ringing in the mist. Mill-wheel reflections of sun on water, sliding down the shack... Such radiance for November! And tum the pine boughs into green chenille.
Nov. 11. The dramatic diatonic booming of fog horns, bells, whistles, on Golden Gate Bridge, in the fog, warping early in the morning into cold San Francisco. Past Alcatraz. Bird watcher who lives there.
Fog lifts: to the left, Oakland is dark, cloudy, bridge disappears into low gray clouds. To the right San Francisco, the sky is tender blue, the bridge arching away, incredible, with its cables and towers.
Skipper wearing fur-lined jacket, collar turned up, blue cap, formidable, with beaky profile against the sky. He is angry with longshoremen and shouting curses and orders in French and English. Pilot amused, bored, respectful. Various mates stand around tensely.
Brilliant comment of a person to whom I once lent Ulysses on returning it the next day. “Thanks awfully. Very good.” (Lawrence also said: “The whole is a strange assembly of apparently incongruous parts, slipping past one another.”)
Leaving at night the jewelled city. Baguette diamonds on black velvet, says Primrose: ruby and emerald harbor lights. Topaz and gold lights on two bridges.
Primrose is very happy. We embrace in the dark, on deck.
Nov. 14. Los Angeles. A notice in a shed:Watch the Hook It Can’t Watch You.
Warm blue satin sea and mild sun.
Nov. 15. Sure enough, off we go. Of course.
We have another passenger: his name? Charon. Naturally.
—Outward Bound, from Los Angeles to Rotterdam S.S. Diderot sailed November 15, in the evening.
(Mem. Outward Bound, seen at the Theatre Royal in Exeter with my mother and father in 1923. Eight bells ring up each curtain. Wonderful performance by Gladys Ffolliot.)
S.S. Tidewater, a black glistening oil-tanker, very close, empty: red rails: Marie Celeste?
Description of sunset: sailing into boiling Quink. Magenta scarves to starboard: from the galley, a smell of loaves, to the right, vermillion spare ribs: aft, a sort of violet porridge.
Gulls blowing: silhouettes. And more shearwaters.
Sailing close into a black mountainous coast of clouds, with stars over them.
And Mr. Charon, he’s there too.
Nov. 16. We have crossed the border in the night.
—At sunset, leaden clouds, black sky, with a long line of burning vermillion like a forest fire 3,000 miles long, far away between black sea and sky.
Strange islands, barren as icebergs, and nearly as white.
Rocks!—The Lower California coast, giant pinnacles, images of barrenness and desolation, on which the heart is thrown and impaled eternally...
Frere Jacques. Frere Jacques Laruelle.
Baja California. In fact, Mexico to port. Thousands and thousands of miles of it.
—But nothing equalled now the inconceivable loneliness and desolate beauty of the interminable Mexican coast, (down which the freighter now slowly made its way) with the furnace of the ship saying Frère Jacques: Frère Jacques: dormez-vous: domrez-vous, and a single lone digarilla floating, turning, against the purple frightful coast, and the sunset of misery—
dong dong dong
doom doom doom
The digarilla is the bosun bird, or frigate bird, or man-o’-war bird, with a tail like a swallow: it is a bird of ill omen in Dark as the Grave Wherein my Friend is Laid. It was a bird of ill omen to Primrose and me in Acapulco three years ago. Yet one week after that The Valley of the Shadow of Death was accepted. The Book will be divided into three parts, three novels. Dark as the Grave Wherein my Friend is Laid, Eridanus. La Mordida. Eridanus is a sort of typical intermezzo and is about shack in Canada. Dark as the Grave is about the death of Fernando, who is Dr. Vigil in the Valley of the Shadow. Real death that is, we discovered. La Mordida, The Bite, is set in Acapulco. The Valley of the Shadow worked like an infernal machine. Dr. Vigil is dead like the Consul—in reality that is. No wonder my letters were returned.
Someone has written an opera about another Consul. It hurts my feelings. This sort of thing is the theme of the book too.
Nov. 17. Mr. Charon looking at Mexico.
Daemon on die job: 24 hours a day.
All noises of the engine set themselves to the tune of Frère Jacques (Martin thought) sometimes the words were “Cuernavaca, Cuernavaca” instead of Frere Jacques: the engine had another trick too, of singing
Please go on!
Why not die!
Sonnez les matines...
and what’s more taken up by the ventilators, it would sing in harmony; I swear it, I heard aerial infernal choirs chanting in harmony, sometimes rising to a frightful pitch... And then it would begin again, saying something quite ridiculous, instead of ding dang dong:
and when it got literally into that groove it would never stop.
—The inability to breathe almost, as the heat grows worse—your mouth too becomes a sort of perpetual pulped vise, your face swollen so that you can scarcely open it save to mutter something inane, and always unfinished, like “I thought it would be—or—ah, please dear it—”
Battement de Tambours
Dark as the Grave Wherein my Friend is Laid. Fernando is buried in Villahermosa. Murdered. He ah drink too much mescal, Mehican whiky. Alfred Gordon Pym.
Title too long: why not just “My Friend is Laid” (Primrose suggested).
The distant inane motorcycle of the electric fan, whose breeze does not reach you, sitting below, watching the sweat pricking your hands, and seep out of your chest.
The crew are chipping rust: hammers on the brain.
White leathery pelicans in the afternoon.
Peaks like machetes, pointing down. Inverted swordfish. Barren mountains, sharp-finned, or peaked like cones. (Yeat’s Vision?)
Waking in the night with eyes aching and twitching vision to wonder (for Martin Trumbaugh, for the Consul, likewise named Firmin, to wonder) where did I put my shoe, did I have a shoe, I did, and the lost one seemed in the right place, but then where are the cigarettes, and where am I? etc. Surely standing now in the corridor of a train vacantly; but then again the engine with its Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, Dormez-vous, Dormez-vous: of course, you bloody well can’t dormez.
I fear that was the consequence of a case of none too good American whiskey bought in Los Angeles because I liked its name. Green River. Even so, there is not half enough for this voyage. But perhaps the captain would ask SigbJØm Wilderness and his wife on to the bridge for an aperitif.
Nov. 18.—the long long dead cruel sorrowful uninhabited coast of Mexico.
Wake at 3 A.M., stumble around dark cabin. Where am I?
5 A.M. Primrose goes out to watch dawn. Indigo sea, black tortured shapes of mountains and sharp-pointed islands, a beautiful nightmare against a gold sky. For two hours we pace and weave, in and out, out and in, from cabin to deck. Try to sleep and cannot. Too close to Mexico?
Day becomes stinking hot and still. Coast faded out of sight. We are crossing the mouth of the Gulf of California. The crew are painting ventilators, wearing wooden shoes.
The skipper says they are “beautying up the ship.”
—atsunset, the Tres Marias Islands, two ships, three frigate birds, jet against amber sky, clouds like boiling cauliflower by Michelangelo: and later, the stars: but now Martin saw the
fixity of the closed order of their system: death in short. The thought comes from Keyserling. (They are only not dead when I look at them with Primrose.) Wonderful truth in Lawrence about this. “Somehow my life draws (he writes) strength from the depths of the universe, from the depths among the stars, from the great world!” Think Primrose feels something like this. And how true was that of them in Eridanus! But he can only get the feeling vicariously on board this ship, as it takes him away inexorably from the only place on earth he has loved, and perhaps forever.
Our Mr. Charon, Mr. Pierre Charon, is a Frenchman, but acting Norwegian Consul in Papeete, Tahiti. An excellent fellow. He will take boat from Cristobal. Bon-vivant. Wears shorts and high white stockings and calls Henry Miller an atom bomb. Also was in foreign legion and goose-steps on the foredeck every now and then. Also he says: Vous n’avez pas de nation. La France est votre mère. Soldat de la Légion Etrangere. Now who in the world said that before? Why no one but a character in The Valley of the Shadow of Death. And you know what happened to the Consul at that point, don’t you, observed SigbjØrn Wilderness, helping himself to his fourth sarsparilla.
—Man not enmeshed by, but killed by his own book and the malign forces it arouses. Wonderful theme. Buy planchette to provide for necessary dictation.
—Death takes a holiday. On a Liberty Ship.
—Or does he? All day I can hear him “cackling like a pirate.” Robert Penn Warren’s phrase. Charon is really a good fellow too, offers us cognac says I look like Don Jose in my bandana handkerchief tied round my head. But the Captain does not invite him on the bridge for an aperitif however like he did us. Case of two masters looking at each other face to face. And by the way, who is Don Jose? The chap who murders Carmen?
In his loneli-ness antl fixed- fixity of the closed order of their system: death in
ness the Ancient sJiort. The thought comes from Keyserling. (They are
Mariner yeam- only not dead when I look at them with Primrose.)
eth toward the journeying Wonderful truth in Lawrence about this. “Somehow
moon, and the my life draws (he writes) strength from the depths of
stars that stillsojourn, yet still the universe, firom the depths among the stars, from
move onward;and everywhere the great world!”think Primrose feels something
the blue sky be- hke this. And how true was that of them in Eridanus!
longs to them,and is their But he can only get the feeling vicariously on board
appointed rest, this ship, as it takes him away inexorably from the
and their native Our Mr. Charon, Mr. Pierre Charon, is a French-man,
country and but acting Norwegian Consul in Papeete, Ta
their own -hiti. An excellent fellow. He will take boat from
natural homes, Cristobal. Bon-viuant. Wears shorts and high white
which they ent- stockings and calls Henry Miller an atom bomb. Also
er unannounced was in foreign legion and goose-steps on the fore-
as lords that arecertainly ex- deck every now and then. Also he says: Vous n’avez
pected and yet pas de nation. La France est votre mhre. Soldat de la
there is a silent Legion Etranghe. Now who in the world said that
joy at their before? Why no one but a character in The Valley of
arrival. the Shadow of Death. And you know what happen-
ed to the Constil at that point, don’t you, observed
Sigbj0m Wilderness, helping himself to his fourth
—Man not enmeshed by, but killed by his own
book and the malign forces it arouses. Wonderful
theme. Buy platichette to provide for necessary dicta-tion.
—Death takes a hohday. On a Liberty Ship.
—Or docs he? All day I can hear him “cackhng
like a pirate.” Robert Penn Warren’s phrase. Charon
is really a good fellow too, offers us cognac says I
look hke Don Jose in my bandana handkerchief tied
round my head. But the Captain does not invite him
on the bridge for an aperitif however like he did us.
Case of two masters looking at each other face to
face. And by the way, who is Don Jose? The chap
who murders Carmen?
Everyone talks so fast I can’t hear a word: admir-able crew.
The book should not be 3 books but 6 books, to be
called The Voyage That Never Ends, with the Valley
in the middle. The Valley acts hke a diabolic battery
in the middle. Resolution should be triumphant,
however. That is to say it is certainly in my power to
make it so.
Nof. lg—or 21? The French Government falls:
our little princess is married. Gallantly, the French
crew drink the health of Princess Elizabeth. The radio
reporter, Charpentier, reads long radio report at din-ner for our benefit: his English is pecuhar:
“And at that moment Lord Mousebatten...”
“At Booking' am Palace...”
They don’t intend any oflence.
These Bretons are wonderful sailors; chivalrous
and kindhearted people to a man.
Englishmen who pride themselves on speaking
French, snazzily being great judges of wines, referring
to “my friend, the best cook in Normandy, of
course,”with the object of discrediting American
salads. Did you ever meet a Frenchman who prettied
up his English or was a good judge ofa tankard
bitter and a steak and kidney pudding?
the curse —But I dream of death, a horrible dream. Grand
th for him Guignol, without merit; but so vivid, so palpable, it
the eye of seemed to contain some actual and frightful tactile
dead men. threat, or prophesy, or warning: frrst there is dis-
sociation, I am not I, I am Martin Trumbaugh. But I
am not Martin Trumbaugh or perhaps Firmin either,
I am a voice, yet with physical feelings, I enter what
can only he described—I won’t describe it, with
teeth, that snap tight behind me: at the same time, in
an inexphcable way, this is hke going through the
Panama Canal, and what closes behind me is, as it
were, a lock: in a sense I am now a ship, but I am also
a voice and also Martin Trumbaugh, and now I am,
or he is, in the realm of death: this realm is, rather
invisible inhabi-tants of the unimaginatively, entirely full of noseless white whores
plcnicnt, take and ronyons with pulpy faces, in fact their faces come
part in his to pieces when they touch them, hke newspapers
wronp, and two picked out of the sea: Death himself is a hideous look-
of them relate, ing red-faced keeper of a prison, with half his face
one to the shot away, and one shattered leg whose shreds are
other, that pen-ance, long and still left “untied”(because he apologized for this): he
heavy for the is the keeper of the prison, and leads him or me or it
Ancient Mari-ner hath been through the gates, beyond which is St. Catherine’s
accorded to the College, Cambridge, and the very room (I’m not sure
Polar I Spirit, what he means) but Death, although hideous, has a
who returneth kindly voice, and even sweet in his gruesome fashion:
Southward. he says it is a pity I have seen “all the show” where-
upon I remember die vaudeville show when I enter-
ed, that is to say I remember moving chairs (in the
sense of moving staircases) on which one sat as at a
cafeteria, and some of the ghouls were sitting on
these chairs and some seemed to be performing in
some way: he said this meant I was doomed, and
gave me 40 days to live, which on the whole I con-
sidered very generous of him. How can the soul take
this kind of battering and survive? It’s a bit like
the toy boat. It is hard to believe that a disgusting
and wicked dream of this nature has only been pro-
duced by the soul itself, in its passionate supphca-
tion to its unscrupulous owner to be cleansed. But
The Mariner Must be something I ate despite eulogy to French
awakes atid his cooking.
penance hegins Martin woke up weeping, however, never before
anew. Martin woke up weeping, however, never before
having realized that he liad such a passion for the
wind and the sunrise.
Si, hombre, that is tequila.
(this now seems ridiculous to me, having risen
early and washed a shirt.)
—I am the chief steward of my fate, I am the fire-man of my soul.
He despiseth Nothing can exceed the boundless misery and
the creatures desolation and wretchedness of a voyage like this.
of the calm.
(Even though everyone is so decent and it is the nicest crew one could have encountered, the best food, etc. And the Trumbaughs were of course having a hell of a good time, etc. etc.)
A shearwater, reconnoitering doubtless.
Leviathan, by Julian Green. The short story.
Acapulco on the beam, and I recognize it immediately—before the skipper indeed. There is Larqueta, with the light-house going past so slowly, and it even seems we can make out the Quinta Eulalia. Since passing Manzanillo, Acapulco is the first sign of any life we have seen down the entire Mexican coast. Almost from the ship, I can hear them shouting, attracting people to the camiones: Culete! Culete!
(This, Acapulco, is the place that is the main scene of my novel that I have been writing about these past months: and this is where Martin Trumbaugh meets his nemesis. This is also where Primrose and Martin, in 1946, saw the digarilla. One week before the acceptance of The Valley of the Shadow of Death. Which is when “it” all began to happen. Story of a man (Man himself no less) Joyced in his own petard. A sense of exile oppresses me. A sense of something else, beyond injustice and misery, extramundane, oppresses, more than desolates, more than confounds me. To pass this place like this. Would I, one day, pass England, home, like this, on this voyage perhaps by some quirk of fortune not to be able to set foot on it, what is worse, not want to set foot on it? Acapulco is also the first place where Martin ever set foot in Mexico. November 1936. Yes, and on the Day of the Dead. I remember, going ashore, in a boat, the madman foaming at the mouth, correcting his watch; the mile-high bodiless vultures in the thunder. And all this sombre horror is lying calmly to port, slowly going astern, innocent as Southend-on-Sea. That is also when the Consul began. Scene of first mescal is now abaft the beam. Intervening years spent writing it—happiest of his life so far, with Primrose in shack—and other things, mostly burned. I know what the feeling must resemble; exactly that of a ghost who revisits some place on earth to which it is irresistibly drawn. He longs to make himself seen but, poor hovering gas bag, cannot even land. (And last, at sundown,
the skipper said innocently: “Look at the little
Mexican boat going down the coast with all its lights
I’ on. A coastwise human soul. Isn’t it prettyf”) His
feelings are equally compounded ofa desire for re-
venge and an illimitable desire that can never be ful-
filled. Feeling is also like excommunication. Infringe-
ment of spiritual rights of man. Where else may he
pray to the Virgin of Guadeloupe? The Saint of
Desperate and E)angerous Causes? Here. Filthy,
mean httle place. Acapulco is that. Certainly not
worth throwing a tragedy at. But Martin Trum-
baugh was passing the theatre of his whole life’s
struggle, his whole future life’s struggle, if any, in
this endless passage down the Mexican coast. Christ
how those ferociously ignorant and mean and wick-
ed httle men made the Trumbaughs suffer, though,
here—would hke to get them, every one. The Minis-
ter of the Interior of Death especially. Country of the
Absolute Devil. Protest to the United Nations. How
many Americans, Canadians, murdered there every
year. Hushed up, without investigation, to save face
—whose? Some Mexicans just as good as others are
evil. Don Jose—Ah, Don Jose, so that was the mean-
ing of Mr. Charon’s remark?—for example, at the
Quinta Eulalia. Think of the risk he took for us. His
charity. Mexicans are the most beautiful people on
earth, most lovely country. Mexican government
seems stiU controlled by Satan, that’s the only trouble.
All Mexicans know it, fear it, do nothing ahout it,
finally, despite revolutions: at bottom it is more cor-
rupt than in the days of Diaz. Mem: Juarez in exile
landing secretly in Acapulco...
Culete! Culete! in memory. The httle buses, and
the shaking man and the blaze of beach at Pied de la
Cuesta and the sharks and the manta ray as big as a
drawing room. And the tiny brilliant tropical fishes
andenvieth that at Culete... And Primrose’s broken holiday, her first
they should live holiday in ten years. I’ll get them for thet, if it is the
and so many lie last thing I do, on paper anyhow.