Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chapter 16 - Ivan Verischenko, Peter Wimsey

I had a dream about you last night which made me uneasy. It showed a side of you I've never seen. And the dream wasn't like any other dream because I was reading about you. I could only see what was written on the page:

"Amaryllis Ardayre had never seen a Paris ball before. She was enchanted. The sumptuous, lofty rooms, with their perfect Louis XV gilt _boiseries_, the marvellous clothes of the women, the gaiety in the air! She was accustomed to the new weird dances in England, but had not seen them performed as she now saw them.

"This orgie of mad people is a wonderful sight," Verisschenzko said, as he stood by her side. "Paris has lost all good taste and sense of the fitness of things. Look! the women who are the most expert in the wriggle of the tango are mostly over forty years old! Do you see that one in the skin-tight pink robe? She is a grandmother! All are painted--all are feverish--all would be young! It is ever thus when a country is on the eve of a cataclysm--it is a dance Macabre."

Amaryllis turned, startled, to look at him, and she saw that his eyes were full of melancholy, and not mocking as they usually were.

"A dance Macabre! You do not approve of these tangoes then?"

He gave a small shrug of his shoulders, which was his only form of gesticulation.

"Tangoes--or one steps--I neither approve nor disapprove--dancing should all have its meaning, as the Greek Orchises had. These dances to the Greeks would have meant only one thing--I do not know if they would have wished this to take place in public, they were an aesthetic and refined people, so I think not. We Russians are the only so-called civilised nation who are brutal enough for that; but we are far from being civilised really. Orgies are natural to us--they are not to the French or
the English. Savage sex displays for these nations are an acquired taste, a proof of vicious decay, the middle note of the end."

What does this dream mean?



And the next day a small, wiry man from a nearby village handed me a book without any wrapping or any note. It was 'Gaudy Night' by Dorothy Sayers.

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