Monday, December 8, 2014

“Like rear lamps fading through a fog”

From Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube (1977), the first of three volumes recounting the writer’s 1933–1934 walk across Europe. Leigh Fermor has been writing about Prague:

In this late attempt to recapture the town, I seem to have cleared the streets. They are as empty as the thoroughfares in an architectural print. Nothing but a few historical phantoms survive; a muffled drum, a figure from a book and an echo of Utraquists rioting a few squares away — the milling citizens, the rushing traffic vanish and the voices of the bilingual city sink to a whisper. I can just remember a chestnut-woman in a kerchief stamping beside a brazier to keep warm and a hurrying Franciscan with a dozen loaves under his arm. Three cab-drivers nursing their tall whips and drinking schnapps in the outside-bar of a wine cellar materialize for a moment above the sawdust, their noses scarlet from the cold or drink or both, and evaporate again, red noses last, like rear lamps fading through a fog.
Related posts
“Footpads and knaves” : From A Time of Gifts : Leigh Fermor’s Brueghel : Leigh Fermor’s eye : Mich wundert, das ich so frelich bin : One word from A Time of Gifts

[Making slow progress: I’ve traveled the final eighty-three pages in two-and-a-half weeks. Utraquists? See here.]

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