Monday, October 10, 2011

SED NON SATIATUS

"Wilde, again, as always, and more than ever"
(my comment to a photo)

“Nabokov’s works made me follow 
his literary taste almost entirely. 
Marguerite Yourcenar's brilliant
Memoirs of Hadrian changed my spiritual
life. Evelyn Waugh 
is the best literary stylist for me.
Chekhov is my first literary love.
Oscar Wilde is my current icon.”
(Lara Biyuts)
















Revue Blanche, which can be called my Oscar Wilde club, has its own iconostasis:

Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock (1860-1895) a Baltic German poet and writer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Stenbock
Major Lord Henry Arthur George Somerset (1851-1926)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Arthur_Somerset
Alfred Waterhouse Somerset Taylor (1962-?)
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWtaylorAT.htm
Sir Harold Mario Mitchell Acton (1904-1994) a British writer, scholar and dilettante.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Acton
Arthur Annesley Ronald Firbank (1886-1926) a British novelist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Firbank
Jacob Derk Burchard Anne baron van Heeckeren tot Enghuizen (1792-1884) a Dutch diplomat.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_van_Heeckeren_tot_Enghuizen
Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) a German art historian and archaeologist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winckelmann
Gerard Reve (1923-2006) a Dutch writer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Reve
Roger Peyrefitte (1907-2000) a French diplomat and writer.
http://www.glbtq.com/literature/peyrefitte_r.html
Guglielmo Pluschow (1852-1930) the famous photographer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guglielmo_Pluschow
Baron Jacques d'Adelswärd-Fersen (1880-1923) a novelist and poet of the early 20th century.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Jacques_d%27Adelsward_Fersen

and
Quintus Aurelius Symmachus as a Venerable Saint of Antinous for his unyielding efforts to uphold the Religion of Antinous in the face of Christian opposition in the late 4th Century AD.










Friday, October 07, 2011

story

SREDNI VASHTAR
by
SAKI
"And while they debated the matter among themselves, 
Conradin made himself another piece of toast."
(Saki)

Conradin was ten years old, and the doctor had pronounced his professional opinion that the boy would not live another five years.  The doctor was silky and effete, and counted for little, but his opinion was endorsed by Mrs. De Ropp, who counted for nearly everything.  Mrs. De Ropp was Conradin's cousin and guardian, and in his eyes she represented those three-fifths of the world that are necessary and disagreeable and real; the other two-fifths, in perpetual antagonism to the foregoing, were summed up in himself and his imagination.  One of these days Conradin supposed he would succumb to the mastering pressure of wearisome necessary things---such as illnesses and coddling restrictions and drawn-out dulness.  Without his imagination, which was rampant under the spur of loneliness, he would have succumbed long ago. Mrs. De Ropp would never, in her honestest moments, have confessed to herself that she disliked Conradin, though she might have been dimly aware that thwarting him “for his good” was a duty which she did not find particularly irksome.  Conradin hated her with a desperate sincerity which he was perfectly able to mask.  Such few pleasures as he could contrive for himself gained an added relish from the likelihood that they would be displeasing to his guardian, and from the realm of his imagination she was locked out---an unclean thing, which should find no entrance.
In the dull, cheerless garden, overlooked by so many windows that were ready to open with a message not to do this or that, or a reminder that medicines were due, he found little attraction.  The few fruit-trees that it contained were set jealously apart from his plucking, as though they were rare specimens of their kind blooming in an arid waste; it would probably have been difficult to find a market-gardener who would have offered ten shillings for their entire yearly produce.  In a forgotten corner, however, almost hidden behind a dismal shrubbery, was a disused tool-shed of respectable proportions, and within its walls Conradin found a haven, something that took on the varying aspects of a playroom and a cathedral.  He had peopled it with a legion of familiar phantoms, evoked partly from fragments of history and partly from his own brain, but it also boasted two inmates of flesh and blood.  In one corner lived a ragged-plumaged Houdan hen, on which the boy lavished an affection that had scarcely another outlet. Further back in the gloom stood a large hutch, divided into two compartments, one of which was fronted with close iron bars.  This was the abode of a large polecat-ferret, which a friendly butcher-boy had once smuggled, cage and all, into its present quarters, in exchange for a long-secreted hoard of small silver.  Conradin was dreadfully afraid of the lithe, sharp-fanged beast, but it was his most treasured possession.  Its very presence in the tool-shed was a secret and fearful joy, to be kept scrupulously from the knowledge of the Woman, as he privately dubbed his cousin.  And one day, out of Heaven knows what material, he spun the beast a wonderful name, and from that moment it grew into a god and a religion.  The Woman indulged in religion once a week at a church near by, and took Conradin with her, but to him the church service was an alien rite in the House of Rimmon. Every Thursday, in the dim and musty silence of the tool-shed, he worshipped with mystic and elaborate ceremonial before the wooden hutch where dwelt Sredni Vashtar, the great ferret.  Red flowers in their season and scarlet berries in the winter-time were offered at his shrine, for he was a god who laid some special stress on the fierce impatient side of things, as opposed to the Woman's religion, which, as far as Conradin could observe, went to great lengths in the contrary direction.  And on great festivals powdered nutmeg was strewn in front of his hutch, an important feature of the offering being that the nutmeg had to be stolen.  These festivals were of irregular occurrence, and were chiefly appointed to celebrate some passing event.  On one occasion, when Mrs. De Ropp suffered from acute toothache for three days, Conradin kept up the festival during the entire three days, and almost succeeded in persuading himself that Sredni Vashtar was personally responsible for the toothache.  If the malady had lasted for another day the supply of nutmeg would have given out.
The Houdan hen was never drawn into the cult of Sredni Vashtar.  Conradin had long ago settled that she was an Anabaptist.  He did not pretend to have the remotest knowledge as to what an Anabaptist was, but he privately hoped that it was dashing and not very respectable.  Mrs. De Ropp was the ground plan on which he based and detested all respectability.
 After a while Conradin's absorption in the tool-shed began to attract the notice of his guardian.  “It is not good for him to be pottering down there in all weathers,” she promptly decided, and at breakfast one morning she announced that the Houdan hen had been sold and taken away overnight. With her shortsighted eyes she peered at Conradin, waiting for an outbreak of rage and sorrow, which she was ready to rebuke with a flow of excellent precepts and reasoning.  But Conradin said nothing: there was nothing to be said. Something perhaps in his white set face gave her a momentary qualm, for at tea that afternoon there was toast on the table, a delicacy which she usually banned on the ground that it was bad for him; also because the making of it “gave trouble,” a deadly offence in the middle-class feminine eye.
 “I thought you liked toast,” she exclaimed, with an injured air, observing that he did not touch it.
“Sometimes,” said Conradin.
In the shed that evening there was an innovation in the worship of the hutch-god.  Conradin had been wont to chant his praises, tonight be asked a boon.
“Do one thing for me, Sredni Vashtar.”
The thing was not specified.  As Sredni Vashtar was a god he must be supposed to know.  And choking back a sob as he looked at that other empty comer, Conradin went back to the world he so hated.
And every night, in the welcome darkness of his bedroom, and every evening in the dusk of the tool-shed, Conradin's bitter litany went up: “Do one thing for me, Sredni Vashtar.”
Mrs. De Ropp noticed that the visits to the shed did not cease, and one day she made a further journey of inspection.
“What are you keeping in that locked hutch?” she asked.
“I believe it's guinea-pigs.  I'll have them all cleared away.”
Conradin shut his lips tight, but the Woman ransacked his bedroom till she found the carefully hidden key, and forthwith marched down to the shed to complete her discovery.  It was a cold afternoon, and Conradin had been bidden to keep to the house.  From the furthest window of the dining-room the door of the shed could just be seen beyond the corner of the shrubbery, and there Conradin stationed himself.  He saw the Woman enter, and then be imagined her opening the door of the sacred hutch and peering down with her short-sighted eyes into the thick straw bed where his god lay hidden.  Perhaps she would prod at the straw in her clumsy impatience.  And Conradin fervently breathed his prayer for the last time.  But he knew as he prayed that he did not believe.  He knew that the Woman would come out presently with that pursed smile he loathed so well on her face, and that in an hour or two the gardener would carry away his wonderful god, a god no longer, but a simple brown ferret in a hutch.  And he knew that the Woman would triumph always as she triumphed now, and that he would grow ever more sickly under her pestering and domineering and superior wisdom, till one day nothing would matter much more with him, and the doctor would be proved right.  And in the sting and misery of his defeat, he began to chant loudly and defiantly the hymn of his threatened idol:
Sredni Vashtar went forth,
His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white. 
His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death. 
Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful.
And then of a sudden he stopped his chanting and drew closer to the windowpane.  The door of the shed still stood ajar as it had been left, and the minutes were slipping by. They were long minutes, but they slipped by nevertheless. He watched the starlings running and flying in little parties across the lawn; he counted them over and over again, with one eye always on that swinging door.  A sour-faced maid came in to lay the table for tea, and still Conradin stood and waited and watched.  Hope had crept by inches into his heart, and now a look of triumph began to blaze in his eyes that had only known the wistful patience of defeat.  Under his breath, with a furtive exultation, he began once again the paean of victory and devastation. And presently his eyes were rewarded: out through that doorway came a long, low, yellow-and-brown beast, with eyes a-blink at the waning daylight, and dark wet stains around the fur of jaws and throat.  Conradin dropped on his knees. The great polecat-ferret made its way down to a small brook at the foot of the garden, drank for a moment, then crossed a little plank bridge and was lost to sight in the bushes. Such was the passing of Sredni Vashtar.
“Tea is ready,” said the sour-faced maid; “where is the mistress?”
“She went down to the shed some time ago,” said Conradin.  And while the maid went to summon her mistress to tea, Conradin fished a toasting-fork out of the sideboard drawer and proceeded to toast himself a piece of bread.  And during the toasting of it and the buttering of it with much butter and the slow enjoyment of eating it, Conradin listened to the noises and silences which fell in quick spasms beyond the dining-room door.  The loud foolish screaming of the maid, the answering chorus of wondering ejaculations from the kitchen region, the scuttering footsteps and hurried embassies for outside help, and then, after a lull, the scared sobbings and the shuffling tread of those who bore a heavy burden into the house.
 “Whoever will break it to the poor child? I couldn't for the life of me!” exclaimed a shrill voice.  And while they debated the matter among themselves, Conradin made himself another piece of toast.

The End


Thursday, October 06, 2011

THE NEEDS OF THE NAVY


Introduction

“And such was his passion for Hierocles
that he kissed him in a place
which it is indecent even to mention…”
(THE LIFE OF ANTONINUS HELIOGABALUS)

“But after all we are not children,
not illiterate juvenile delinquents, not English public school boys
who after a night of homosexual romps
have to endure the paradox of reading the Ancients
in expurgated versions.”
(V. Nabokov, On a Book Entitled Lolita)
     
This tale was originally published in the "Juvenilia" section of Snowdrops from a Curate's Garden, Crowley's obscene miscellany, one hundred copies of which he had printed privately (most likely in Paris) in 1904, although they bear the fictitious appellation "1881 A.D., Cosmopoli."
As my readers know, the edition was destroyed by Britain censorship in 1926. Now we can take the opportunity to read the story.

THE NEEDS OF THE NAVY
by ALEISTER CROWLEY

The air of the room was quite sweet and heavy with the savour of forbidden kisses; a faint moist sense of sweat steamed up in the twilight, and there was a sound of breath that did not dare to breathe, of sighs choked by fear. The midshipman's head silently turned round and his tongue pushed languidly forward to touch the lips of the lieutenant. A sound in the next room; both trembled violently, sprang from the sofa where they had been lying and hastily arranged the disorder their passion had made necessary. The middy took his lover's hand, raised it to his lips, bit it hard with sudden mad desire and whispered, in a voice shuddering with unsatiated lust "Ah God! Ah God! I love you now!" He slipped through the door and left Andrew Clayton to sweet memories and disquieting thought of the future. For Monty Le W-- had never given him his love before. Monty was a dark, languid-eyed boy with jetty hair; there was about him the indefinable air that sexual perverts recognize so quickly, a closer union than masonry can boast. In fact, he had not been on board H.M.S. Osiris a week before the Captain had promoted him to a dignity sufficiently high to excite the envy of the boys who had till then held the proud distinction of favourite catamite. A furious battle between the jealous beauties ended in their growing so excited over the spilt blood and the violent physical pain that the spectators were scandalized by the sight of an impromptu orgie as infuriate as the fight had originally been. The boys were still fast friends, but Monty was first favourite with the Captain and tyrannized over him to the previously-unheard-of extent of demanding reciprocity en affaire d'amour. The Captain on his part only asked fidelity; and indeed Monty had grown to love him so dearly that the thought of an adultery would have been insupportable. One day, however, a sudden desire came upon him towards the most popular of the lieutenants, Andrew Clayton, a man of violent passions not usually associated with fair hair and rather timid grey eyes. Andrew saw the sly looks of the midshipman and one day went into his cabin and, stepping to his side without a word, gave him a fierce kiss, while his hand sought to awake desire in an even more direct manner. But the passing fancy of the boy had gone, and he rudely repulsed the advances of his would-be lover. Andrew, with great self-command, withdrew in silence. Next day, however, they were both called before the Captain, read a long lecture on the sin of paederasty and severely reprimanded. It was evident that Captain Spelton liked his forehead very well as it was, and meant to keep a sharp look-out. Monty in his innocence was terribly indignant and naturally became quite ready to cuckold the Captain if he could. At mess that evening he managed to whisper "you shall have me if you still -" the immediate result of which was considerably embarrassing to Andrew. But all the endeavours they made to meet and steal a kiss occasionally were always frustrated as if by accident, though they now knew it must be of set purpose. Andrew suggested at last that, to allay suspicion, he should choose another middy and pretend to make violent love to him. Monty's jealousy said no, and only after a long time was he persuaded to agree. "Katie" Ambrose, the boy selected for this vicarious duty, was a dirty little fellow of the most vicious type. His favourite fancy, in public, was to lie on his back and to endeavour to catch in his mouth, and swallow, his own emissions, and he was also constantly degrading his rank by licking the genitals, or the feet, of the dirtiest sailors and stokers on the ship. He was only glad from the social status it gave him when Andrew made overtures of love. Monty would have himself preferred this choice, arguing that Andrew would have himself preferred this choice, arguing that Andrew could never be really enamoured of so vicious a boy, but what he saw three weeks after undeceived him. On this wise.
One night the Captain, being restless, suggested a tour of inspection, and the two lovers stole quietly out of their cabin. They came after a time to where Andrew and Ambrose were, and were lucky enough to catch the former in the very act of sacrificing at the most holy altar, while the boy, turned half round, was gently chewing and licking the armpit of the perspiring lieutenant. One finger of his free hand sought to penetrate the other's shrine, while the hand underneath him titillated his own genitals in unison with the motions of his lover. The act was consummated; gasping, heaving, breathless, they sink lower on the bed. Their tongues mingle lazily; the elder man withdraws slowly; a pleasant sound announces his exit. Hardly a moment and the boy gives his lover a signal. The latter turns over while Ambrose rises and sits over him while the sweet salt offering, spiced now by the god to whom it is offered, trickles daintily into the open mouth of the languorous man. Then the boy slips down into his lover's arms: they share the incense with mingled mouths until the flavour is appeased and they swallow it with the first blush of reawakening desire. "Katie" eagerly reverses his position to prepare for a new embrace; but Monty whispers to the Captain: "Darling, I can bear it no longer; come back!" They never slept at all that night; but I never heard either of them regret the fact. But Monty was terribly disgusted with Andrew, and when little Ambrose struck Monty (who had called him, with naive eloquence, "Suck-shit") the latter knocked him down and kicked him. The lieutenant, who was near, had to interfere, and the dark languorous boy was punished. This mean revenge (as he understood it) irritated Monty still more and he eventually refused to speak to Andrew at all.
It was the night of a big dinner ashore and Monty Le W-- had gone up to a little sitting-room which was next [to the] billiard-room, to wait for the Captain. Unperceived Andrew had followed him and was now lurking behind the heavy curtain that hung over the door; he listened to the boys' muttered soliloquy, disturbed only by the noisier laughter and curses of the billiard- room. Spelton was long - damned long - coming; no doubt of that. And Monty's desires were getting less controllable every minute. At last he took down his trousers and began to play with himself, hoping to ease a little his discomfort. At this moment Andrew glided forward and whispered "If you speak we are both lost. Your dress . . ." The frightened boy made a movement of agony. He was terribly angry, and yet dared not speak or make the least sound. After the other affair he knew the Captain would never believe his story. The lusty lieutenant took out a weapon fiery and enormous, and began to seek admission. The boy, with all the force of the sphincter, resisted. A sharp tap or two on the coccyx, however, reminded him that he had a bold lover, who would stick at nothing, and he gave way. The whole length of his lover's yard was engulfed in one great push, and, accustomed as he was to the Captain's penis, he could hardly repress a cry of pain. The ravisher was far longer and thicker and cared a great deal less about any pain he might inflict. And he plunged like a mad horse! At last the welcome climax, and a perfect deluge of kisses bitten hard into his olive neck. And then the luxurious confession with which this story began.
Left to himself, Clayton invented incidentally twenty-three quite new curses, called Le W-- a little bitch, kissed the mark of the little bitch's teeth on his hand, and generally conducted himself as an officer and a gentleman would do, provided he were also a devout Christian. He foresaw trouble. It came pretty quickly. Two days afterwards Clayton had to quit his lover's room in a great hurry, as heavy footsteps trod the passage. The Captain was in his dressing-gown and proved quite Arcadian beneath. He was in bed in a jiffy, and discovered heat and moisture to an extent unwarranted by the climate. "I thought you would never come, love," sighed the charming middy, with resourceful tact, "so I've been whiling away the time." "I'm here now," said his lover, and applied his lips to the dark altar of his desire. That was very moist too, and the Captain's inquisitive tongue soon penetrated its secrecies and became aware of a strong warm taste as of incense recently offered. "I envy you your amusement," he observed, with delicate irony, "you appear to have succeeded at last in following my advice to go and bugger yourself!" He said no more just then, but came round with a sharp knife two days later to both the lovers and said he thought their accomplishments, if unique, were unnatural. But the knife cut both knots at once; he told Lord Cartington at their tête-à-tête dinner the next day that there seemed to be no end to the variety of entrees which had as a basis - oysters.
"Katie" Ambrose grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with god and man.

The End

 


More decadence, British fin de siècle :
http://revueblanche.blogspot.com/2015/04/blood-flower.html