Monday, December 26, 2011

The morning Gérard balked

To our great friend Gérard, you will remember, had been given that assurance of breeding which his habits exuded so fragrantly that none of us ever attributed it to anything so commonplace as scent. But this morning we must concern ourselves less with his mode than with his assurance, as he unaccountably found himself awakening in the loading dock of the Pierre Hotel, at an hour he was deprived of guessing, in a place which bore no semblance to his experience, even as a reader of Solzhenitsyn. To a man who hasn't had to give any thought to his scent since his christening, it wasn't merely the context of his awakening which lacked those dozen or so external clues for his bearing. It was, rather, that the full force of the unexpected struck him then and there, that there truly could be a setting that didn't suggest to him Impériale.

It need hardly be said, that for a man as superbly grounded as Gérard there was no hasard of being seduced by the extraordinary, and so it wasn't with shock that he entertained this speculation. With the composed stance of the calm surveyor of the passing scene, he noted first that there wasn't any: that the more he looked, not only was Christopher Robin out, but so, in a sense, was he. It was this genius for the assimilation of a first impression which, we would say, distinguished Gérard always from the flâneurs of his generation and before, whose invention of the petty would always get them a lunch. Had he known he was at the Pierre, of course - had he, for that matter, any reason to suppose he could have been at the Pierre, with his own club so nearby - he might have rung down for a plate of eggs and a bathrobe, but something told him there was no down for ringing from this place.

The cascade of logic which coursed through his mind upon this flicker of dispensing with Impériale soon suffused enough of his consciousness to spread something very like a smile across his face, as he relished the absence of whole tributaries of everyday assumption which flowed so consequentially from that thought, and embraced his present condition with such immaculateness. Far from contemplating any exit from this estate, he took it into his mind as he took it into his eye, that he made as much of a difference to it as it did to him, and it wasn't merely the novelty of this concep-tion which moved him. 

Mark Rothko
Untitled, 1949
National Gallery
  of Art


  1. The Rothko works so brilliantly right were it is placed. Just great. A beautiful, bright sunny day after Christmas.

  2. Truly it was, even down here. I'm happy for Gérard, and grateful to you.

  3. You're very kind, Linnea, and I'm pleased to think you might like this. I hadn't wanted to publish anything "on top of" the early Christmas "Rosebud" posting, because I liked its feeling; but then 'comedy' intervened under pressure of the party atmosphere of the final week, so I was glad to try to let this entry go on for a little while. But I fear the pressure of jests and resolutions (is there a difference) must eventually prevail. Kind of you to come, and to adding to my happiness to present this greeting. Who knows. We may see Gérard again; I like him.