Thursday, January 27, 2011

Belated Letters to Insurgents and Good Tidings | part 1

After Infinite Strike was posted some time ago, I received a letter from a beloved comrade translator. Like everything else, my reply suffered from sloth and soon transformed into a text better meant for others; something of a welcome to 2011, and so on. Our correspondence follows.



Ô! 'Tis exceedingly well set. Very good, very strong.

The numerals and the latin redound to your own better instincts,

to say nothing of your incorporation of the french in the larger fonts.

Brilliant. Gentle. People will complain & they will be mistaken.

Foreign Words
. Splendid. Splendid!

And now, how not to let up?...

The weather in B______ is dead dreary, empty streets, an armistice holiday.

Another fortnight of that, even less as I'm writing, and we'll be rejoined warmly

among the cozy little side street of my burg of predilection toward the south,

where we'll make winter and springtime and who knows? Lots of new friends,

gaming, suppers, heels dug in conspiring. After the final 'strophe in _______ you

ought come pay a visit.

We'd be delighted of course,

More soon from one who is happy to be,

Your devoted appendage,

And what is more,

Your admiring well-wisher,

L. Desormais

"Bless us!—what noble work we should make!—how should I tickle it off!—and what spirits should I find myself in,

to be writing away for such readers!—and you—just heaven!—with what raptures would you sit and read—but oh!

'tis too much—I am sick—I faint away deliciously at the thoughts of it—'tis more than nature can bear!—lay hold

of me—I am giddy—I am stone blind—I'm dying—I am gone.—Help! Help! Help!—But hold—I grow something

better again, for I am beginning to foresee, when this is over, that as we shall all of us continue to be great wits—we

should never agree amongst ourselves, one day to an end:—there would be so much satire and sarcasm—scoffing and

flouting, with raillying and reparteeing of it—thrusting and parrying in one corner or another—there would be nothing

but mischief among us—Chaste stars! what biting and scratching, and what a racket and a clatter we should make,

what with breaking of heads, rapping of knuckles, and hitting of sore places—there would be no such thing as living for us.

But then again, as we should all of us be men of great judgment, we should make up matters as fast as ever they went wrong;

and though we should abominate each other ten times worse than so many devils or devilesses, we should nevertheless,

my dear creatures, be all courtesy and kindness, milk and honey—'twould be a second land of promise—a paradise upon earth,

if there was such a thing to be had..."

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Book III, ch. XX.

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