-----Let us not make, between ourselves, a power that totters as an entity. But something takes acuity from the mind, the senses go, deafened, blinded, by what I do not know, force of circumstance perhaps, as though it were in a dark place the hand lashes out, the page is brought out from the secret place, held fluttering in the shaking hand, the eyes behind it stare, the mute and anxious stare that misses nothing and remits nothing, am I an oracle who speaks a language he does not understand? What have I become in my waiting here? Do they not look at me as though, for all their wish for understanding, I might perhaps take the thing they had and return a substitute? Now you can see why I feel the importance of that letter. Inarticulate anxiety! There’s nothing worse! It makes them indistinguishable! One cannot help them and the state which they are might as well be one’s own! So here is your letter: take it and keep it safe, what it is I do not know, do not know the beginning of it, nor the end, that’s where my knowledge begins and ends, only, I have heard, there is a trade in the forgery of these letters, how could it be otherwise, where there is demand and the truth so slender and so barely known, what more fertile ground could there be, soon the weeds shade and shoulder one another, soon they prize apart the stones, certainly, it is possible for those who have lost what once belonged to them to go to a dozen places to pay for a facsimile, established schools and fly-by-night individuals in the shadiness of public squares, at the core of each is covert desperation. Towards the core. Skill? Oh, that depends on who is or is not deceived. Cheap? Not in the end. Oh, no doubt the faults are there, I do not look, cannot bear to look, the maxim has gone round, so they say, “read the character as it is within the signature,” what do they mean by that, and, “the greater the stature the longer the shadow,” it is the parables that snare the eye, when you do not know the meaning the clause in which it is conveyed is the one that will be lost, that’s the pity of it, one may be wrong, but it seems to be the way, brief the day, in the night all changes, memory does not last the night, here it is, your letter, repaired with stamp edging, as best I could, in the half-light, keep it safe, self-imposed and in the past, I don’t know what, the life truncated in a minute to follow, what, I do not know, the youth is made the mouthpiece of the fashionable pedagogue last heard, does he know it, no, little does he know the kidnap of himself, perhaps I think aloud, few there are who are not wretched trumpets of a time to which the poor and lonesome sound, the wind-borne fragment of the far lament, would be the sound appropriate for what is lost, so quickly and so quietly that recall would not find its void, few there are who are not new and the rest are silent, here is the letter, keep it safe and by you, I think I am saying what I would be inclined to do myself, now I have spoken I begin to doubt what I have said, what seemed as clear as daylight now seems impenetrable, perhaps soon will go, the briar-path which no-one takes, how broad a road it was, in the firstlight, of the morning.

 

 from The Course of Instruction by David Wheldon
 

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