This is the place where Jove Kindly permits the spring To last for a long time And kindly permits the winter To be as mild as can be. Septimius, Tarentum And the blessed hills around it, The countryside of my childhood, Summon you and me. Horace The Odes of Horace To Septimius ii, 6 [fragment] David Ferry, translation op. cit.
The next fragment of memory - a morning beam falling across half-empty glasses and a disorder of [gramophone] records - filled me with a hollow feeling of distress and calamity; morning all over again.. But the light also rested on two spurred feet projecting from the end of a divan covered with peasant rugs that indicated a warrior taking his rest, then two crossed and gleaming black cylinders with small gold rosettes at the knee, tight dark blue breeches embroidered with foliating black galloons of braid, scarlet braces, a white shirt, and finally the sleeping and disheveled head of the young officer; and in another armchair, the crumpled frame of the French journalist. When the red-haired girl, who seemed to live there, emerged with coffee, it transpired that the hard exhibition-ist core had stayed the night, which made things a bit better.
When Pierre, the young officer, returned from shaving, I watched him with some envy, slowly and painfully reassemble: struggling shakily with the hooks and eyes of the high astrakhan collar of his astrakhan-cuffed blue tunic, flattening the hussarish soutaches across the chest, arranging the fall of empty sleeves of the black and blue pelisse he slung on heavy cords across his left shoulder, and correcting the diagonal slant across his back.
He polished his beautifully cut boots with a cushion, and then peered in a looking-glass at the fragile, resplendent cornet reflected there and shuddered, 'Do you think', he asked sadly and slowly in English, 'that I look like an officer and a gentleman?' I said he did indeed. 'Let's hope so,' he murmured lugubriously. He was half Scottish; his mother, he told me, had been a Miss Douglas; rather surprisingly he had an Everyman copy of the Pickwick Papers in the pocket of his pelisse.