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7. August 2020

Via Semaphore Signal to Mr Lush, City of Westminster



My dear friend Lush,

what a treat to read your lines! I understand from your letter that our friend Flavio has led his columbine into the nest. Let us wish the groom the best of luck and strong nerves. Marriage can be a tricky business.

Well, this night at Küsnacht will remain in my memory for quite some time. I can understand your astonishment that this event took place in the well-set Switzerland.

Hence, I would not want you to miss the second part of the evening. After the Allegro, I also admired an Andantino. For when all the hustle and bustle became a little too much for me, I looked for a quiet place to take a short moment’s rest and entered the library. One or two lamps were burning and the room was smelling of cigars. A gentleman sat in an armchair and looked somewhat indignant at the disturbance of his sanctuary. To show his courtesy, he offered me a seat, which I accepted with a slight nod. Silence.

This gave me the opportunity to study the gentleman a little. He kindly closed his eyes and inhaled with relish. He reminded me of Charles Ryder’s stubborn cousin – I think his name is Jasper and he is as pedantic as it gets. In fact, thinking back at my counterpart, I could almost sense the stubbornness and the boredom which he was radiating. There was no sign of a laugh, and the lips were as narrow as loopholes. Suddenly, I recognised a stir. With his eyes closed, he asked what tired fate had thrown me to this shore. Well, I told him that I was on my way to the Teutons. When he heard this, his eyelids opened slowly like awnings and he muttered: “Any particular destination?” “Well, Munich,” I replied. Silence.

Are you among those who believe in the words of literates? One of these fellows was just talking to me about people and houses in Munich – he kept coming back to the beauty of perspective. Whatever that might be. And as if this hadn’t been enough, he went as far as to claim that the entire city of Munich was indeed gleaming. If I remember correctly, this gentleman of an author said that in addition to the festive squares and the white temples, the baroque churches and the oh-so-cosy farmhouses and gardens, a bright blue sky characterises the city. As if made of blue silk. The only thing missing was that the laziness and sausageiness were a sign of virtue.

These are quite personal and cheerful suppositions, but how could he say all this when, at the same time, he had the stale, sour smell of beer in his nose? Oh yes, the beauty of perspective! That’s where the marketing experts come in. But isn’t Munich rather a permanent folk festival? Each and everyone can find the highest expression of this state of affairs at the Oktoberfest. There, you will find nothing but the smacking carelessness of a juicy, comfortable and pleasantly decorated life. How many noble thoughts have evaporated in this Bavarian beer swamp? How many wonderful and promising lives were undignifiedly lost in this stagnating puddle of the philistine bourgeoisie? It is the glory of human reverence for the conformist human being that kills all good instincts in the bud. I weep for you on the banks of the river Isar. This is the end of the bombardment.

Last time Bacchus, this time a Savonarola – the thought blasted through my head. The awnings were slowly closing again and silence swept the room. Light breathing and silent snoozing.

Dear Lush, what am I supposed to believe now? Can I believe? Is this world the best of all worlds, or should I rather talk to Job? To dispel these thoughts, I gladly reach for our friend Voltaire and his Candide, or Optimism.

Good night and good luck,
from a cat with doubts, Ocelot.