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

Friday, December 23, 2016

Chateaubriand (back from his Pilgrimage)


I arrived in Paris before the news I had sent about myself: I had overtaken my existence. As insignificant as those letters are, I glance through them as one looks at poor sketches of places one has visited. These letters are dated from Modon, Athens, Zea, Smyrna, and Constantinople; from Jaffa, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Tunis, Granada, Madrid, and Burgos; these lines traced on all sorts of paper, in all sorts of ink, brought by all the winds, interest me. I not only delight in unrolling my firmans (passports etc): I touch their vellum with pleasure; I am revealed in elegant calligraphy and am dumbfounded by the pomp of their style. I was a very great person, then! We are such miserable devils, with our letters for three sous and our passports for forty, next to those lords of the turban!
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