One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Zweig's "Beware of Pity"

I'm back to my usual school routine: on the weekends (shorter than short) I walk to Peets, read, and usually take the long way home: down 2nd to Bay Shore; along Marine Stadium and the Lagoon; past the green bandage of recent seeding (the old Red Car rail bed); home.


The fictional narrator has just met the doctor (Condor). They are now walking toward the little town where Condor must catch a train. The narrator has been given a mission by Edith's father (Mr. Kekesfalva): find out from the doctor how serious Edith's condition is (Edith was crippled by some unsaid disease as a child). The doctor is on the verge of telling the narrator more about Kekesfalva (up till now the N. only knows/thinks: Kekesfalva is a rich, generous aristocrat with a sick daughter).
'Listen, Herr Leutnant! Things half done and hints half given are always bad; all the evil in the world comes from half-measures. Perhaps I've let slip too much already, and I should not, in any case, like you to be shaken in your generous outlook. On the other hand, I've aroused your curiosity too much for you not to make inquiries of other people, and I am, unfortunately, bound to fear that the information you get will not be very favourable. And then, too, it's an impossible situation for anyone to go on visiting a house without knowing who the people are -- probably you wouldn't feel any too easy about going there again now that I've inadvertently gone and upset you. If it would really interest you, therefore, to learn more about our friend, I'm at your disposal.'
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