[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Camphor traditionally preserves chastity.With regard to Trelawney, I hope Scorpio has purged away the more unpleasant side.Harmony is the watchword.Harmony, as such, is not to be disapproved.I fear things are not always allowed to rest there.An element of Gnosticism emphasizes the duality of austerity and licence, abasement as a source of power, also elements akin to the worship of Mithras, where the initiate climbed through seven gates, or up seven ascending steps, imagery of the soul’s ascent through the spheres of the Planets – as Eugenius Philalethes says – hearing secret harmonies.’‘I remember Trelawney’s friend, Mrs Erdleigh, quoting that.Did you know her?’‘Myra Erdleigh was ubiquitous.’Toasts and speeches began to take place.When these were over, lighting a cigar, Fenneau began to speak of Gnosticism, and the Mithraic mysteries.I was relating how Kipling’s Song to Mithras had so much puzzled my former Company Commander, Rowland Gwatkin (whose obituary, recently printed in the Regimental Magazine, said he had taken an active interest in Territorial and ex-Service organizations to the end), when, several seats opposite having been vacated by guests rising to relieve themselves, or stroll round the pictures, Widmerpool moved down to one of these empty chairs.I had forgotten all about him, even the possibility put forward by Members that another unscheduled speech of Widmerpool’s might take place.Close up, he looked even more like a down-at-heel artist than at a distance.The scarlet sweater was torn and dirty.Nodding to me, he addressed himself to Fenneau.‘Canon Fenneau, I think?’‘Your servant.’Fenneau said that like a djinn rising vaporously from an unsealed bottle.‘May I introduce myself? My name is Widmerpool – Ken Widmerpool.I am called by some Lord Widmerpool.Don’t bother about the Lord.It is irrelevant.We have never met, Canon.I am no churchgoer nowadays, though once I served my turn as a churchman.’Hoping to disengage myself from whatever business Widmerpool had with Fenneau – impossible to imagine what that could be – I was about to make off, having myself planned to do a lightning tour of the pictures, in search of interesting specimens from the past.Widmerpool delayed this.‘Nick Jenkins here will vouch for my credentials.We’ve known each other more years than I like to think.Canon Fenneau, I have a request to make.’Fenneau watched Widmerpool with the eye of a croupier, fixed on the spinning roulette wheel, ready to deal with any number that might turn up, in this case none endowed with power to break the bank, whatever sum put on, at whatever odds.‘Let me say at once, Lord Widmerpool, that it is supererogatory to tell me about yourself.You are, if I may say so, too famous for that to be necessary.’Widmerpool accepted this definition without demur.‘All the same don’t keep on Lord-Widmerpooling me, Canon.Ken will do.’Fenneau smiled deprecatingly, making no reciprocal request that he should be called Paul.Widmerpool seemed a little uncertain how to proceed.He drummed on the tablecloth with his knuckles.‘I could not help hearing snatches of your conversation during dinner.You were speaking of someone in whom I am interested.I had, in fact, made enquiries, and learnt already that this personage was known to you, Canon.’Fenneau raised his almost non-existent eyebrows, and set his hands together as if in prayer.Widmerpool had perhaps hoped to be helped out in what he wanted to say.If so, he was disappointed.‘This young man Scorp Murtlock.’‘Ah, yes?’‘I am interested in him.’‘Scorpio is an interesting young man.’Widmerpool, seeing he was to get no assistance, became somewhat more hectoring in manner.‘I am not – to speak plainly – attracted by mumbo-jumbo.What concern me, on the contrary, are the social aspects of Murtlock’s community, if so to be called.Its importance as a vehicle of dissent.I read about his persecution by the police.That set me to making enquiries.I found – from certain young people with whom I am already in touch – that there was a clear case of injustice that ought to be taken up in law.’‘If you listened to our conversation, Lord Widmerpool, you will by now be aware that I have already confessed myself, at this very table, as something of an amateur of mumbo-jumbo.Believe me, Lord Widmerpool, mumbo-jumbo has its place in this world of ours.Make no mistake about that.’Fenneau spoke mildly.Widmerpool recognized the underlying firmness.He modified his tone.‘You may be right, Canon.I was not thinking along quite those lines.What I mean is that mumbo-jumbo has never played any part in my own life [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]