“Well, what do you advise?” Which one should I choose? Shall I buy the red one? But I won’t be able to wear my “fantaisie” hat with the red one.
“Well, go ahead and buy the gray one.”
“Of course I’ll buy the gray one.” It’s even more useful.
“The material is great.”
– I think so. And, you know, it’s such a good gray. Not so common. Although, as a matter of fact, gray is certainly not something interesting.
– Well yeah; calm, simple thing.
“Do you know that I feel something very strange when I see red?” Red is a lovely, warm thing. In red, you always seem to feel very warm, even if you are otherwise cold. Do you know what I mean?
– There is something in it; then take the red one, ma’am. It even suits everyone; because it’s still… red!
– THE; you just don’t mean it?
“That is, if you are in good shape.”
“True, of course; the color red has its downside; the person must be in good shape. That’s why gray is basically safer.
“Then the gray one, ma’am.”
“Yes.” I think it’s better. Not true?
“I also wear it very warmly.”
“And it’s durable.” I’ll finish it off… oh! You just haven’t cut it yet?-4-
“I just want it.”
“Wait a moment.” Let me see that red one more time! You know, my soul, it suddenly occurred to me: how charming it would be with a chinchilla.
“It would have been pretty before.”
“Because my chinchilla happens to be there.”
“Of course; then go for the red one. Why not buy the red one?
“I could wear it with this hat.”
– No other. True; of course, this would go well with the other one, the gray one. Um; finger I think I’ll just buy the gray one. In vain; sure, gray is a solid color.
“I liked to say eight meters…”
“That’ll be enough, because I’m going to expand it – how about with your friends… Just for a moment, my dear.” Because you know, if I buy the gray one, I really don’t know what I’ll wear with my black jacket.
“Doesn’t that match the gray?”
“Well… gray; to black; how would it be as pretty as red?
“Then I’d take the red one.” Your grace surely knows best.
“As a matter of fact, for my part, I like gray better.” But when a person has to think about all kinds of things, and then also that… Good God! isn’t that all the time?
“That’s not all; it’s ten minutes late. Our classes are always a little later.
“We were supposed to be at Madame Jannaway’s at a quarter to one!” My God, this shopping is taking a long time! When did we start?
“It could have been eleven.”
– Half-past ten. Now I remember that it was so much, because we agreed at home that we would start exactly at half past ten. Two full hours late!
“And we didn’t go far, did we?”
– THE; we didn’t do anything at all. How much work I would have! And you have to go to Madame Jannaway-5-I’m going! Is my wallet not there? No; because I have it here.
“You haven’t decided yet, madam, which one you will choose.” Gray or red?
“I don’t know where my head is; God, I don’t know what I want. A minute ago I was quite sure and now here it is… I have it! I remember! The Red. Only the red one. In other words, no way! I didn’t mean red; I meant the gray one.
“However, my lady mentioned red last; do you remember
“That… that!” because he is right. What a purchase. Do you know how sometimes I lose my mind?
“If you decided on red…”
“So: what should a person do?” What do you think? As far as I know, I want to know if maybe there is some other shade in this red… Because it is such a disgusting red…
The shopkeeper warns that he has seen some of the red ones before. This is the shade he chose from the others. I liked this so very much.
– Of course, of course! – sighs the lady in a voice as if all earthly burdens in the world have been lifted from her. “If he says it, it will happen; then this is it. I’ll just keep going… I wasted my whole morning because of him…
Out there, he proves to himself with three indisputable arguments that he shouldn’t have chosen red. He makes four unappealable excuses. Besides, why should I have preferred the gray one? He wonders if they will take him back. Then he goes in and asks for the boss. Oh my god, it’s his girlfriend who’s waiting for him for brunch!
– This is why I hate shopping; – he states. “Because that person never has time to really think…”
And he decides that he will never set foot in this store in his life.
We laugh at it’; but are we that much more superior? My noble friend: have you not stood for a long time in the very middle of your wardrobe, indecisive; in which you impress-6-will it be better for him? How about in this simple, coarse-textured bag that accentuates your broad, masculine shoulders? Wouldn’t that form-fitting black be better? After all, it is more suited to the appearance of a serious person; who, let’s say, graduates around the age of twenty-nine. But what if the riding suit is even better than this? The sweet one also said in the old days: – what a handsome young man Jones is in those high-heeled boots; the breeches also look good on it. But the universe! maybe our feet are just different from Jones’s! It’s silly that riding breeches are made of leather these days. After all, what is the point of the fashion trend of trying to hide men’s legs as much as possible? Women are becoming less and less ashamed of their own legs; so why does the man do the opposite? How impossible have the silk tights and tight knee pants of our grandfathers become? It seems,
For example, I have never understood, never understood, because women are in love with us. They are actually attracted to our true, deep, inner value; probably our extraordinary merits. Because our appearance is never the same! Or our anklets, heavy coats, waistcoats, hats with horns? Why not! – with such adjustments, only our strength of character can be what arouses their enthusiasm.
I discovered what a magnificent line our ancestors must have had, especially when I was wearing a mask at a masquerade ball. I would not be able to say what I depicted; I don’t really mind, whatever it was, I just remember that in the chest, and around that area, we wear it out of order; the hat is three times the size it needed to be. When I was a child, I won a prize in higher arithmetic operations, once I also won a prize in history. Not often, but I won. Once a literary critic – now dead – praised my book. I know there were some occasions when my behavior and actions earned the approval and approval of good people. But never, never in this life was I more proud; I am more satisfied with myself than the night I pressed the last button. I examined my own Self in the mirror. It was a dream;-7-really a dream. I’m not the only one who felt this way about me. By God, I was a brilliant, magnificent dream. Red base; full of gold embroidery everywhere, but everywhere where there was room for gold embroidery at all. Where there was no longer room for gold embroidery, fringes hung; tassels, cords. I was surrounded by golden buttons, soft, gold-pierced silk caressed me, and a white horsehair feather bush swayed above me. I don’t remember if everything was buttoned in its proper place. But somehow I just put it on and it must have been good because I painted it well. I looked good. My success was enormous: the original nature of the female half of humanity revealed itself to me for the first time in its full sincerity. Girls who were cold and kept away from me, now surrounded me and flirted with me. They timidly tried to arouse my interest. those girls those I smiled at lost their heads; they got out of their groove. And other girls, who were forgotten to be introduced, became quite mean and rude to those who were introduced. I stood during a dance with one of them (the costume rental company warned me that it would not be good to sit in it), and I still feel sorry for that poor child. He was courted by such a handsome son: the son of a wholesale woolen merchant; I definitely feel that he would have made an excellent husband. But he appeared dressed as that unfortunate beer bottle. He was courted by such a handsome son: the son of a wholesale woolen merchant; I definitely feel that he would have made an excellent husband. But he appeared dressed as that unfortunate beer bottle. He was courted by such a handsome son: the son of a wholesale woolen merchant; I definitely feel that he would have made an excellent husband. But he appeared dressed as that unfortunate beer bottle.
Maybe it’s good that those old fashions are gone. If I spend a whole week in that outfit, my natural modesty will pay the price.
I am surprised that masquerade balls are not more fashionable in our gray days. We all have the childish instinct in us; we like to “dress up”; “let them believe”. It’s boring to be yourself all the time. One afternoon I was part of a tea party; the question was raised: – If it were to happen, would we exchange it with someone else? poor man with the millionaire; governess with the princess, – but not only in external conditions and environment, but also in health and temperament. Shall we exchange heart, marrow, soul? So that not a single particle of our original self would remain, only the memory-8-our talent. The opinion became general: no! only one lady had a different view.
“He wouldn’t change it, he wouldn’t do it for anything, my dear!” even one of his girlfriends objects. He just believes he would.
“I would; I would; insists the first lady. “I’m really bored.” God willing, I might even be your favor for a while for the sake of variety.
In my youth, I asked myself the question: – What kind of person should I become? When you are nineteen years old, you ask yourself such questions. At the age of thirty-nine, we sigh: If only fate hadn’t made us such a person!
At that time, I was a diligent reader of all kinds of good advice, with which the youth are benevolently educated. What I learned from them was that I could be Sir Lancelot, Herr Teuffelsdröckh, or even Jágó according to my individual choice. I considered and pondered whether I would walk the path of life cheerfully or sadly. I took samples from books. Byron was still popular then; there were many of us who decided to be foggy, obscure young people; people who are bored with the world and are looking for solitude. I’ve decided: I’m going with these.
For a month, I hardly smiled, and when I did, it was a tired, bitter smile: the cover of a broken heart. At least that’s how I wanted it to be. My empty-headed observers then completely misunderstood.
“Oh, I know very well what it’s like,” they said and looked at me sympathetically, “it often happens to me too.” The rapid change of the weather, they explain and force brandy into me or recommend beers.
The young man is rightly offended if he tries to hide his secret crush behind silence and ordinary people say to him: – Well, how is the ball with the slob? – or if those who supposedly know more about his dignified pain simply dismiss it as “He chewed again.”
The young man who chooses Byron’s system also encounters other, practical obstacles. He must be extraordinarily, supernaturally evil. But unfortunately, into the incorrect grammar book of real life, where the future comes last, and the past is not from the “completed past” but from the “present-9-“mode” is formed from the present; it is impossible to be such a terrible villain on a modest income. Even the simplest girl’s fall costs money. In the temptations of love, one does not ask for a “forma pauperis”, and even then the method would not be the infallible Byron method.
“May memory be poured into a cup” does not sound bad; but there must be brandy in the cup; and really good brandy is not cheap. It’s good to take a strong sip of old Tokaji or Asti, a really poetic idea; but if the sip is long enough to choke on something, it can only be a quart of light beer, or a somewhat light pálinka, or a mixture of a similar price: then all the guilt is lost.
It is also possible – I think that I had a holy conviction that Sin, even the most charming, is a tough, hard thing. It avoids the light of day, though – it’s a make-up rag and a paint-like cloak of literature. It remains a bad outfit; sometimes it clings to the body of a good person too, if his will is not hard and strong enough; but you must avoid it with all your efforts if you want physical and mental well-being.
Be that as it may, I am bored with the dark young man; even while I was doubting, I came across a new book by chance, Its hero is a foolish, cheerful fellow; Tom is Jerry’s cousin. Gets into fights; flirts with actresses; he cuts off their bells and extinguishes street lamps; he plays a lot of pranks on night watchmen of a more unruly nature. For all these, the lady in the book liked him very much. I wouldn’t be able to flirt with actresses either; why can’t I light the street lamps myself? Why shouldn’t they fool me with the police? why can’t women love me too? Life in London has changed since the hero lived his world; but many things remain and a woman’s heart is eternal. Even if duels are no longer held, there are still boxing competitions in the dark cellars of Whitechapel. Cockfights are long gone; but aren’t there dark dens down by the river? the gentleman sees rats there fighting terriers for twenty pennies; you really feel like a sportsman there. It is true that the unsustainable, irrepressible joy that surrounded my hero in such places,-10-I couldn’t find it; rather gin; there was a smell of tobacco and beer; and constant harassment from the police. In essence, however, it remained the same, and the next day I was able to exclaim with his words: “What strange creatures. But it’s like a devil is sitting on my brain! Huh! I’m driving you crazy!”
However, the lack of tools at my disposal prevented me from continuing on this path at least. (This kind of influence of income on character can provide ample food for wisdom.) Even the fifth-rate “boxing contests”, the rat carnage between Rotherhithe, cost a lot if you happen to be a gentleman or who has only one collar at the moment. On the outside, however, he must appear worthy of his rank. Climbing on lampposts and passing gas will certainly not cost anything, unless they are caught in the act. But they lack variety. But the modern London lamp iron is not quite suitable for this sport either. I never met with anything in my life that was more bitter to cling to; which has less “göcs”. Another disadvantage from the handrail’s point of view is that the thing accumulates more than the allowed amount of dirt. When you are about the third station, you develop a stronger dislike for “vig derü”; you long for shade and a bath.
You’re not the only one having fun even with the policeman. Maybe I didn’t do it smart enough. Now that I look back on these events, I fear that the area around Covent-Garden and Great Marlborough-street is badly equipped for sports of this nature. As for the helmet, any fat cop is a great test item. While he’s fiddling with his helmet, you can ask him the strangest questions; by the time his head is uncovered, you can be out of sight. But this kind of game is only pleasant in a place where there aren’t two or three policemen on every square meter. Because if two others have been watching you and the developments on the next corner for ten minutes, you will find no true joy in the situation. Once you’ve been through Great Titchfield Street and Oxford Market twice, you realize that it’s never good to develop beyond a certain point;-11-that is, when it is in danger of becoming boring. You should go home now, or you should visit your friends. During that time, “Law, Order” increased to five or six people; they are just starting to have fun with the case. And while you wind up Hanover-Street, you imagine the next morning’s scene at the courthouse; you are accused of being drunk and disorderly. It is futile on your part, then, if you try to explain to the judge (and later to your relatives) that you were simply trying to resemble someone who appears in a book; it also carried out these kinds of things and was well liked for them. You will have to pay the due forty shillings; next time you want to visit the Mayfields, the girls won’t be home and Mrs Mayfield—a first-class, lovely lady, who has always treated you with motherly affection – she will seriously want to talk to you; I take it on your word that you won’t do this kind of thing again.
Thanks to your youth and strong nature, you shake off the discomforts of the Notting-Hill inquiry, and, to avoid unpleasant encounters, return to Bloomsbury by way of Camden-Town and Islington; just a few hours’ ride.
I avoided tendencies towards sports as a result of a finger-pointing of Fate. The result of a certain Sunday morning; it is the water channel of an insignificant house; one of the side streets of Soho: “I faced Fate: man against man.” “I just need to get out of here”, – I think I used such phrases – then I’m not a “sport” anymore. Fate, it seems, went into the store and I climbed out. True; getting out was complicated; a lightning rod and three gas lamps paid the price; also a sovereign, which was to be given to the aqueduct man for the hire of dry ulster. When I finally sat safely in my room and took stock of myself – that is, of what was left of me – I could only reflect on the fact that fate could have reduced this otherwise. Since then, I have no more desire, to deviate from public perception; I began to lean towards the whole simple life.
Accordingly, a character to be formed again -12-I searched; I found one that fit quite well. Around that time, the German professor started appearing as a hero. He wore his hair long, otherwise very untidy; but his heart is of steel; occasionally of gold. Most of the people described in the book would not have found it interesting; neither his looks, nor his broken English conversation, nor the fact that he always mentioned his dead mother and little sister Liza. But they have no idea about the heart. The professor’s main occupation was a lame dog. He saved her from being chased by a mob of animals; if he didn’t speak terrible English, he nicknamed his dog.
His specialty was reining in runaway horses; and to save the heroine’s life on such occasions. The broken English, compared to the dog, made him irresistible to me.
He was a peaceful, lovable being; I decided to give it a try. Of course, I could not become a German professor; on the other hand, I could grow my hair, despite general statements not to do it; especially their little son was of the opinion that not for the world. However, my efforts to find a lame dog were not crowned with success. In Seven-Dial, a one-eyed peddler – I fled to him as a last source of help – offered to paralyze one of them for five shillings. However, I rejected the motion. One night I passed by a blind man with a very ugly painting. It wasn’t lame, but I thought it was very ravenous, and because I felt that I wasn’t robbing anyone of their valuable property, I lured it home and began to care for it. I like it, I took good care of it last time. He became so healthy at the end that nothing could be done with him at all. He was a misbehaved bastard and he’s too old to learn. The neighborhood has become a curse. He loved sport in the form of choking chickens; or stole the rabbits from the game dealer’s shop. For variety, he skinned cats and scared small children, biting their calves. There were moments when I myself willingly undertook to paralyze him if I could get hold of him. I had no use for messing with him—nothing really. Instead of the people gazing that I had restored him to life, they called him a fool and declared, bit into their calves. There were moments when I myself willingly undertook to paralyze him if I could get hold of him. I had no use for messing with him—nothing really. Instead of the people gazing that I had restored him to life, they called him a fool and declared, bit into their calves. There were moments when I myself willingly undertook to paralyze him if I could get hold of him. I had no use for messing with him—nothing really. Instead of the people gazing that I had restored him to life, they called him a fool and declared,-13-if I don’t strangle him, they will show me. The whole thing spoiled my character – I understand, the character of that period that I had to try. Because how hard it is to portray a young man with a heart of gold, if they see you throwing stones after your own dog in the open street. Yet stone was the only language he understood, and it was the only one that had some influence on him.
On the other hand, the rarity of wild horses hindered my efforts. The horses in our district are not that kind of horse. Once – only once – there was only an opportunity for such a test. It was a good time; so much so that the horse is not so very wild. Indeed; I am not sure whether he himself was aware of the fact that he had gone wild. It came out later that – because it was his habit to wait for the coachman outside in front of Rózsa and Korona – he thought he had already waited the usual time and jogged home at his own expense. He could cover seven acres in an hour; he pulled the reins comfortably behind him. He was such a beginner. So I prepared for the worst. But at the critical moment, a whole bunch of official policemen pushed me aside and braked for me.
I had no reason to pity the incident; it turned out that I would have saved a bald commercial traveler; he was terribly drunk; he cursed and punched the air, beating the crowd.
I once observed three people from the window of a very high apartment trying to stop a wild horse. All three moved towards the center of the body with firm steps and took their places. My window was high enough to see the faces; but their bearing reflected a heroic determination to the death. The first one, when the horse galloped towards him, waited with open arms. He didn’t move until the horse was about fifteen meters away. When the animal decidedly wanted to continue its wild gallop, the good man could do nothing but retreat in the direction of the corner stone and look after the horse with visible sadness; as he said to himself: – Well, well, if you are so stubborn, then I have nothing to do with you.
The second, on whom the disaster would have fallen,-14-without a moment’s hesitation he turned into a side street and disappeared. The third one stayed in place and barked at him when the horse passed him. I didn’t hear what he said. I have not the least doubt that he gave excellent advice; but the animal was evidently too eager to listen. Later, the first and third people met and discussed the matter sympathetically. I thought they were sorry for the stuntedness of the wild horses in general and hoped that no one was injured.
I don’t remember what kind of characters I made at that time. All I know is that one character that caused a lot of trouble was that of an upright, fair, honest, open-hearted, outspoken young man who always spoke his mind.
I can only remember one instance where someone had real success in saying what they thought. Slamming his open palm on the table, he declared:
“He wants me to pee, – to feed him with a bunch of lies, huh?” I do not do such a thing; Jim Compton sure doesn’t. But if you’re interested in my true opinion, I’ll say it: that kid over there at the piano is the most wonderful artist I’ve ever heard. I’m not saying you’re on fire, but I’ve heard Liszt and Metzler and all the half-fools, and I’m sure I like it better here, God bless me. Yes, this is my opinion. I’m just talking like I can, and I can’t help it if it offends the ears.
“Oh, how nice,” the parents say, “to meet someone who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.” After all, aren’t we all outspoken?
The last character to be shaped, I thought, could easily become perfect. It belonged to a young man who was admired and admired, whose great charm came from the fact that he was always – himself. Others posed and acted. This one here has never tried to do anything other than to be its own simple being.
I thought: I will also be my own, simple being. But then the question arose: What is my own, simple being?
This problem had to be solved first; I haven’t solved it yet. What am I? noble gentleman, who is clean-15-he goes on his way with spirit and head held high; despises all meanness and is impatient of all pettiness? Am I a low-minded, petty person; – one whom the unsullied soul and high head deeply despises; who takes a crooked path to the end of his misery; who bows before the strong and fears all pain? However, I don’t want to sadden your ears, my dear reader, I don’t want to pull back the veil by saying what a despicable creature this wretched Me is. You wouldn’t understand. You would be amazed at the revelation that your contemporaries are such worthless specimens of humanity. It is best, dear sir or madam, if these evil people remain unknown. I don’t want to bore you with knowledge.
I’m a philosopher, I welcome the thunder and I’m happy with the sunshine. Only here and there, when things don’t go quite as I would like – when stupid, evil people continue to act stupidly and evilly with the appearance of imitating me in my peace and happiness – only then do I get angry, only then do I get upset.
As Heine says: I am a knight too; knight of the holy grail, champion of truth, worshiper of women, admirer of men; seeking to devote my life to the service of the great Warrior.
And the next moment I see myself in the ranks of the enemy, fighting under a black flag. (How much the enemy generals can be bothered by the fact that all their soldiers are fugitives from both camps.) Women are nothing but men’s playthings! Do I eat no more sweets and drink no more fizzy drinks, because you remain virtuous? What is a man but a hungry dog; do they eat each other up at the small imposed concert? Devour the others; otherwise they will eat you. Isn’t the Truth a rocket-propelled lie?
I love all living things. My poor sister, who carries a heavy burden on your lonely way; I would kiss the tears off your tired face: I would illuminate the darkness around your feet with my love. My patient brother, you pant as you go round and round the well-trodden path, like a poor, half-blind print horse, your encouragement is dry food in the manger; I would agree; I would take the rope off your aching shoulders a little. We would stomp together-16-next; we would bow our heads to each other; you would remember and tell me the meadows where you once played; would you tell me about the beautiful contests when you fought and won. Well, you little, convulsive nobodies, your dirty little faces stare out in amazement; I would take you in my arms and tell you fairy tales. We would wander into sweet wonderland; we would leave the old, sad world here for a while; you would become princes and princesses and know what love is.
But often some selfish, greedy person comes and sits here in my clothes. His life is full of sourness; he is anxious to get more money—more food; more clothes; more joy. You are so busy with the things you need that you don’t have time to deal with other people’s problems. He believes that he is the center of everything. If you hear it, you like it, the world was created and created so that when he comes, he will find joy in it. I push left and right; carelessly clings to the satisfaction of a thousand desires; if he falls, if he errs, he curses Heaven for his unrighteousness; he scolds a man or a woman for getting in his way. He’s not a nice person at all. He claims to be Me; that I am a sentimental fool; to spoil your things. Sometimes I get rid of it, but it always comes back; sometimes he gets rid of me and I become him. It’s a complete mess. Sometimes I can’t believe