Sunday, 4 May 2014

...of ruin

Hoeller himself had not touched a thing in this garret since Rothamer's last visit here, immediately after his sister's funeral in Altensam, as I've since learned from Hoeller, Roithamer had attended the funeral most reluctantly, as I've also learned, not of course on account of his sister but because of his brothers, Roithamer wore black, Hoeller said, which he'd never worn before, no matter who was being buried, Roithamer wore black only this one time in his life, it was only for his sister's funeral that he dressed in black, he looked extremely well dressed in those black clothes, Hoeller says, and so there he was in his elegant black clothes in Hoeller's parlour and sat there in silence, in total silence, as Hoeller says, without eating or drinking anything, Hoeller had the impression that Roithamer, with his sister now dead and buried, had come to an end himself, except that he was still alive, but though he was still alive he actually felt that he was already dead, because his sister, for whom he had built the Cone, had meant everything to him, next to his work, his natural science, which he taught at Cambridge, as I have said, he simultaneously taught and studied at Cambridge, but now, Hoeller said, you know how an educated man can suddenly look as though he had been mortally wounded, and Hoeller described Roithamer as looking not only completely exhausted after his sister's funeral, but looking as if he were already dead, Roithamer had entered Hoeller's house a dead man, not merely and exhausted to totally exhausted man, and there he sat in Hoeller's family room for two hours, and would not let Hoeller's wife give him anything to eat or drink, though he had never refused her before, except that after three hours he took a glass of water which he drank down in one long gulp, and nothing else, then he kept on sitting there in the downstairs family room deep into the night, in silence, Hoeller himself didn't dare to say anything, not in this situation, said Hoeller, who could describe the situation very well, though he couldn't explain it, in fact every time Hoeller talked about Roithamer he could describe everything very well though he couldn't explain it, but Hoeller didn't need words to make himself understood and to explain whatever and wherever something needed explaining, Hoeller's method of elucidation always worked best when he operated in silence, and so Roithamer sat in the parlour all night long and did not wish to retire to the garret, Hoeller said, he probably didn't want to return ever again to the world of the garret, which stood for everything.

[Correction, Bernhard, T.]

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