Beyond the Mexique Bay: A Traveller's Journal

Beyond the Mexique Bay: A Traveller's Journal

Beyond the Mexique Bay: A Traveller's Journal

Beyond the Mexique Bay: A Traveller's Journal

Excerpt

When I was young, hot water used to be brought to one's bedroom, half an hour before breakfast time, in a small brass can, which was placed on the marbletopped washing stand next to the china basin wherein the morning's ablutions were performed. Today these objects--the brass can, the basin and matching ewer, soap-dish, toothbrush container and slop pail--have become genuine antiques, and may be bought, for a stiff price, in curiosity shops. "Old, old, Master Shallow." As old as objects which are now classified with pre-Columbian artefacts and first editions of Paradise Lost, the sight of one of those little brass cans in a shop window is enough to release in my memory all the defunctive music I have ever listened to. "Gone, all are gone, the old familiar faces . . . Eheu fugaces . . . Oh death in life, the days that are no more . . . Sunt lacrimae rerum . . . creeps in this petty pace from day to day . . . nous sommes la triste opacité de nos spectres futurs . . ." And so on, dying fall after dying fall.

Brass watering cans are nostalgic enough; but for the writer, as he advances in years, there are other more personal and more poignant reminders of time's passage. Some of the genuine antiques, with which he is contemporary, were created by himself. His earlier books now possess a historical interest. They are documents, from which the writers of Ph.D. theses and . . .

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