22. toukokuuta 2007

Ken on hän?

Kenestähän mahtaa Thomas Holmes (1846-1918) kirjoittaa teoksessaan London's Underworld (1912)?

Some of my friends have crossed the river, but as I think of them
they come back and bid me tell their stories. Here is my old
friend the famous chess-player, whose books are the poetry of
chess, but whose life was more than a tragedy. I need not say
where I met him; his face was bruised and swollen, his jawbone
was fractured, he was in trouble, so we became friends. He was a
strange fellow, and though he visited my house many times, he
would neither eat nor drink with us. He wore no overcoat even in
the most bitter weather, he carried no umbrella, neither would he
walk under one, though the rains descended and the floods came!

He was a fatalist pure and simple, and took whatever came to him
in a thoroughly fatalist spirit. "My dear Holmes," he would say,
"why do you break your heart about me? Let me alone, let us be
friends; you are what you are because you can't help it; you
can't be anything else even if you tried. I am what I am for the
same reason. You get your happiness, I get mine. Do me a good
turn when you can, but don't reason with me; let us enjoy each
other's company and take things as they are."

I took him on his own terms; I saw much of him, and when he was
in difficulties I helped him out.

For a time I became his keeper, and when he had chess engagements
to fulfil I used to deliver him carriage paid to his destination
wherever it might be. He always and most punctiliously repaid
any monetary obligation I had conferred upon him, for in that
respect I found him the soul of honour, poor though he was! As I
think of him I see him dancing and yelling in the street,
surrounded by a crowd of admiring East Enders, I see him bruised
and torn hurried off to the police station, I see him standing
before the magistrate awaiting judgment. What compensation
dipsomania gave him I know not, but that he did get some kind of
wild joy I am quite sure. For I see him feverish from one
debauch, but equally feverish with the expectation of another.

With his wife it was another story, and I can see her now full of
anxiety and dread, with no relief and no hope, except, dreadful
as it may seem, his death! For then, to use her own expression,
"she would know the worst." Poor fellow! the last time I saw
him he was nearing the end. In an underground room I sat by his
bedside, and a poor bed it was!

As he lay propped up by pillows he was working away at his
beloved chess, writing chess notes, and solving and explaining
problems for very miserable payments,

I knew the poverty of that underground room; and was made
acquainted with the intense disappointment of both husband and
wife when letters were received that did not contain the much-
desired postal orders. And so passed a genius; but a
dipsomaniac! A man of brilliant parts and a fellow of infinite
jest, who never did justice to his great powers, but who crowded
a continuous succession of tragedies into a short life. I am
glad to think that I did my best for him, even though I failed.
He has gone! but he still has a place in my affections and
occupies a niche in the hall of my memory.


3 kommenttia:

Anonyymi kirjoitti...

Voisi olla Cecil Valentine De Vere. Lontoo, syntymävuosi, kuuluisuus, traagisuus ja nuorena menehtyminen sopisivat..

Kari Tikkanen kirjoitti...

Kyllä, kaikki sopisi muuten De Vereen, mutta... "whose books are the poetry of chess, but whose life was more than a tragedy." Mikään lähde ei mainitse, että hän olisi tehnyt kirjoja.

Marko Ylijoki kirjoitti...

De Vere on kelpo veikkaus. Ehkä kuitenkin vielä todennäköisempi on James Mason (1849-1905). Muita veikkauksia?