lunes, 13 de enero de 2014


A tall and blond young officer, blue-eyed if possible.
Such is my Traumprinz.
Now D.H. Lawrence created a supporting character that fits astonishingly into this mold, over-used in my works of fiction.
Major Charles Eastwood.
So young, and yet, a veteran of the Great War (whose centennial is celebrated his year)!
He's married to an open-minded Jewish divorcée and the stepfather of her children... AND IT'S HE WHO DOES THE HOUSEWORK!

She advanced, dressed in a sleek but bulky coat of sable fur. A man followed, in a blue great-coat; pulling off his fur gloves and pulling out a pipe.
“It looked so tempting,” said the woman in the coat of many dead little animals, smiling a broad, half-condescending, half-hesitant simper, around the company.
No one said a word.
She advanced to the fire, shuddering a little inside her coat, with the cold. They had been driving in an open car.
She was a very small woman, with a rather large nose: probably a Jewess. Tiny almost as a child, in that sable coat she looked much more bulky than she should, and her wide, rather resentful brown eyes of a spoilt Jewess gazed oddly out of her expensive get-up.

She crouched over the low fire, spreading her little hands, on which diamonds and emeralds glittered.
“Ugh!” she shuddered. “Of course we ought not to have come in an open car! But my husband won’t even let me say I’m cold!” She looked round at him with her large, childish, reproachful eyes, that had still the canny shrewdness of a bourgeois Jewess: a rich one, probably.

Apparently she was in love, in a Jewess’s curious way, with the big, blond man. He looked back at her with his abstracted blue eyes, that seemed to have no lashes, and a small smile creased his smooth, curiously naked cheeks. The smile didn’t mean anything at all.
He was a man one connects instantly with winter sports, skiing and skating. Athletic, unconnected with life, he slowly filled his pipe, pressing in the tobacco with long, powerful reddened finger.
The Jewess looked at him to see if she got any response from him. Nothing at all, but that odd, blank smile. She turned again to the fire, tilting her eyebrows and looking at her small, white, spread hands.
He slipped off his heavily lined coat, and appeared in one of the handsome, sharp-patterned knitted jerseys, in yellow and grey and black, over well-cut trousers, rather wide. Yes, they were both expensive! And he had a magnificent figure, an athletic, prominent chest. Like an experienced camper, he began building the fire together, quietly: like a soldier on campaign.

“We’re on our honeymoon,” said the little Jewess.
She spoke in a rather high, defiant voice, like some bird, a jay, or a crook, calling.

“Yes! Before we’re married! Have you heard of Simon Fawcett?”— she named a wealthy and well-known engineer of the north country. “Well, I’m Mrs. Fawcett, and he’s just divorcing me!”

She was an honest little thing, but perhaps her honesty was TOO rational. Perhaps it partly explained the notorious unscrupulousness of the well-known Simon Fawcett.
“Yes! As soon as we get the divorce, I’m going to marry Major Eastwood.”
Her cards were now all on the table. She was not going to deceive anybody.

Behind her, the two men were talking briefly. She glanced round, and fixed the gipsy with her big brown eyes.
He was looking up, as if shyly, at the big fellow in the sparkling jersey, who was standing pipe in mouth, man to man, looking down.
“With the horses back of Arras,” said the gipsy, in a low voice.
They were talking war. The gipsy had served with the artillery teams, in the Major’s own regiment.
Ein schöner Mensch! (A beautiful person!)” said the Jewess. “A handsome man, eh?”
For her, too, the gipsy was one of the common men, the Tommies.

The Major came back, and slung himself into his coat.
“Come!” called the Jewess to the peeping children, as the blond man wheeled away the bicycle. “Come! Come here!” and taking out her little purse, she held out a shilling.
“Come!” she cried. “Come and take it!”
 The old woman called hoarsely to the children, from the enclosure. The two elder children came stealing forward. The Jewess gave them the two bits of silver, a shilling and a florin, which she had in her purse, and again the hoarse voice of the unseen old woman was heard.
The gipsy descended from his caravan and strolled to the fire. The Jewess searched his face with the peculiar bourgeois boldness of her race.
“You were in the war, in Major Eastwood’s regiment!” she said.
“Yes, lady!”
“Imagine you both being here now!— It’s going to snow —” she looked up at the sky.
“Later on,” said the man, looking at the sky.

He too had gone inaccessible. His race was very old, in its peculiar battle with established society, and had no conception of winning. Only now and then it could score.
But since the war, even the old sporting chance of scoring now and then, was pretty well quenched. There was no question of yielding. The gipsy’s eyes still had their bold look: but it was hardened and directed far away, the touch of insolent intimacy was gone. He had been through the war.

The little Jewess, mother of two children, was taking her wealth away from the well-known engineer and transferring it to the penniless, sporting young Major Eastwood, who must be five or six years younger than she.
The blond man returned.
“A cigarette, Charles!” cried the little Jewess, plaintively.
He took out his case, slowly, with his slow, athletic movement. Something sensitive in him made him slow, cautious, as if he had hurt himself against people. He gave a cigarette to his wife.

“Well goodbye!” said the Jewess, with her odd bourgeois free-masonry. “Thank you for the warm fire.”

The little Jewess had only to wait three months now, for the final decree. She had boldly rented a small summer cottage, by the moors up at Scoresby, not far from the hills. Now it was dead winter, and she and the Major lived in comparative isolation, without any maid-servant. He had already resigned his commission in the regular army, and called himself Mr. Eastwood. In fact, they were already Mr. and Mrs. Eastwood, to the common world.
The little Jewess was thirty-six, and her two children were both over twelve years of age. The husband had agreed that she should have the custody, as soon as she was married to Eastwood.
So there they were, this queer couple, the tiny, finely-formed little Jewess with her big, resentful, reproachful eyes, and her mop of carefully-barbered black, curly hair, an elegant little thing in her way, and the big, pale-eyed young man, powerful and wintry, the remnant surely of some old uncanny Danish stock: living together in a small modern house near the moors and the hills, and doing their own housework.
It was a funny household. The cottage was hired furnished, but the little Jewess had brought along her dearest pieces of furniture. She had an odd little taste for the rococco, strange curving cupboards inlaid with mother of pearl, tortoiseshell, ebony, heaven knows what; strange tall flamboyant chairs, from Italy, with sea-green brocade: astonishing saints with wind-blown, richly-coloured carven garments and pink faces: shelves of weird old Saxe and Capo di Monte figurines: and finally, a strange assortment of astonishing pictures painted on the back of glass, done, probably in the early years of the nineteenth century, or in the late eighteenth.
In this crowded and extraordinary interior, a whole system of stoves had been installed into the cottage, every corner was warm, almost hot. And there was the tiny rococo figurine of the Jewess herself, in a perfect little frock, and an apron, putting slices of ham on the dish, while the great snow-bird of a major, in a white sweater and grey trousers, cut bread, mixed mustard, prepared coffee, and did all the rest. He had even made the dish of jugged hare which followed the cold meats and caviare. The silver and the china were really valuable, part of the bride’s trousseau. The Major drank beer from a silver mug, the little Jewess had champagne in a lovely glass, the Major brought in coffee. They talked away. The little Jewess had a burning indignation against her first husband. She was intensely moral, so moral, that she was a divorcée. The Major too, strange wintry bird, so powerful, handsome, too, in his way, but pale round the eyes as if he had no eyelashes, like a bird, he too had a curious indignation against life, because of the false morality. That powerful, athletic chest hid a strange, snowy sort of anger. And his tenderness for the little Jewess was based on his sense of outraged justice, the abstract morality of the north blowing him, like a strange wind, into isolation.
As the afternoon drew on, they went to the kitchen, the Major pushed back his sleeves, showing his powerful athletic white arms, and carefully, deftly washed the dishes, while the woman wiped. It was not for nothing his muscles were trained. Then he went round attending to the stoves of the small house, which only needed a moment or two of care each day.
I am really amazed by this couple.
"The most extraordinary people!” And a detailed description.
“I think they sound rather nice!I like the Major doing the housework, and looking so frightfully Bond-streety with it all. I should think, WHEN THEY’RE MARRIED, it would be rather fun knowing them.

The very strangeness of the connection between the tiny Jewess and that pale-eyed, athletic young officer made me envy her.

Eastwood piqued my fancy. Such a smart young officer, awfully good class, so calm and amazing with a motor-car, and quite a champion swimmer, it was intriguing to see him quietly, calmly washing dishes, smoking his pipe, doing his job so alert and skilful. Or, with the same interested care with which he made his investigation into the mysterious inside of an automobile, concocting jugged hare in the cottage kitchen. Then going out in the icy weather and cleaning his car till it looked like a live thing, like a cat when she has licked herself. Then coming in to talk so unassumingly and responsively, if briefly, with the little Jewess. And apparently, never bored. Sitting at the window with his pipe, in bad weather, silent for hours, abstracted, musing, yet with his athletic body alert in its stillness.

"What about it?” he said, taking his pipe from his mouth, the unemotional point of a smile in his eyes.
“I’m perfectly all right today, and I shall be all right tomorrow,” he said, with a cold, decided look. “Why shouldn’t my future be continuous todays and tomorrows?”
His anger was of the soft, snowy sort, which comfortably muffles the soul.

“I!” bawled the tiny Jewess. “I! My goodness, don’t I!” She looked with reflective gloom at Eastwood, who was smoking his pipe, the dimples of his disconnected amusement showing on his smooth, scrupulous face. He had a very fine, smooth skin, which yet did not suffer from the weather, so that his face looked naked as a baby’s. But it was not a round face: it was characteristic enough, and took queer ironical dimples, like a mask which is comic but frozen. 

“Is there never any man that makes you feel quite, quite different?” said the Jewess, with another big-eyed look at Eastwood. He smoked, utterly unimplicated.

“A cat may look at a king,” calmly interposed the Major, and now his face had the smiles of a cat’s face.

“I think,” said the Major, taking his pipe from his mouth, “that desire is the most wonderful thing in life. Anybody who can really feel it, is a king, and I envy nobody else!” He put back his pipe.
The Jewess looked at him stupefied.
“But Charles!” she cried. “Every common low man in Halifax feels nothing else!”
He again took his pipe from his mouth.
“That’s merely appetite,” he said.

“I didn’t say marry him,” said Charles.

Charles smoked for some moments.
“That gipsy was the best man we had, with horses. Nearly died of pneumonia. I thought he WAS dead. He’s a resurrected man to me. I’m a resurrected man myself, as far as that goes. I was buried for twenty hours under snow,” he said. “And not much the worse for it, when they dug me out.”
There was a frozen pause in the conversation.
“They dug me out by accident,” he said.
 And he put back his pipe.

The half-divorced Mrs. Fawcett and the maquereau Eastwood... A young sponge going off with a woman older than himself, so that he can live on her money! The woman leaving her home and her children! I don’t know where you get your idea of honesty. — And you seem to be very well acquainted with them, considering you say you just know them. Where did you meet them?” Their detractors say this about them.

To me, he is neither a maquereau nor a young sponge.

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