dimanche 17 juin 2007

La Colline des Rêves

"In the year 1895 I was at length certain, or almost certain, that I was a man of letters. I had been, if I may put the matter thus familiarly, for more than twelve years 'on the job.' In '83 I had written a little book called 'The Anatomy of Tobacco', chiefly as a counter-irritant to loneliness and semi-starvation. In '84 I had translated the Heptameron of Margaret de Navarre, while '85 and '86 were devoted to the concoction of 'The Chronicle of Clemendy' a volume of medieval tales. Another translation, a version of 'Le Moyen de Parvenir' by Beroalde de Verville -- his name is more beautiful than his book -- occupied the leisure of my evenings somewhere about '88 and '89, the days being given to the rendering of the 'Memoirs of Casanova' (twelve volumes) into the English tongue. "
"It merely remained to discover what sort of book I was going to write.
I took this problem out with me on solemn walks in dimmest Bloomsbury, then a region most fit to the contemplations of a meditative man. I had just moved into chambers at 4 Vernlam Buildings, Gray's Inn, and so, by way of Theobald's Road, I had easy access to the old, grave squares where life moved quietly and peaceably as if it were the life of a little country town. Grey square opened into grey square, silent street into silent street ; all was decorous and remote from the roar of traffic and the rush of men. But few people ascended the steps of the few old houses, but few descended them ; the local tradesmen, all old-established, old-fashioned, steady and good, called for orders and purveyed their wares in a sober way ; Bloomsbury was silence and repose ; and in its grey calm I pursued my anxious studies, and submitted my problems to myself. "