Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

The Karoo: The Burlington House

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

The Karoo: The Burlington House

Article excerpt

Let's go down the footpath to the fields of wild tobacco where October blossoms after a rainstorm of white descent, whirl through the dust to become nothing. Among the yellow firethorn the young beetles cavort, and in an intensity of purple see the quiver of a saffron-shaded butterfly's wing. Perhaps we'll go where the river runs parallel with the sea, to the dune forest where the pine fallings drift down to settle on damp sand ... No ... inland, an overlay of hills hides a corrugated iron house with an interior of glass, mirrors, and coral coloured ribbons.

There great winds blast through the windows, lifting the dust into chaos. When the coal fire flares, a discharge of heat scatters the ash, and like down it floats onto a cold stone floor. (There the ceilings are so high...) A still chamber reveals a glass doll, the crystal eyes stare lifelessly ahead. Iridescent light pools at the corners, then slides over her cheeks like fallen tears. (There the lace handkerchiefs are so old ...) The lure of the sash window entices the moon to steal noiselessly as a phantom onto its sill, and to slip through its opening to spread a white mantle over ancient marble.

Garlands of berries and bell flowers, are entwined in carved wooden ribbons against a mahogany cabinet. From above, pale wax drops from the hearts of rose candles. On a white-tiered plate with personalized napkins, pink, yellow, and blue petit-fours glazed with apricot, lemon fondant, marzipan, and vanilla are crowned with cherries and frosted roses. …

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