Contradictions Grow In Breadth And In Depth
2019-12-28 23:05

The day that started hectic ends morose. I sit here grumbling to myself, while Ruthrecuperates with a couple of aspirins and a heating pad. My impulse is to damn Cesare,but he is not responsible, he was jut being Cesare. If I can't handle the sort ofchallenge that Cesare makes to my chosen life, I had better choose another life.


It has poured all day, if the word "poured" can be used to describe rain that is notvertical but horizontal, mixed with leaves, branches, power failures, and fears for thewindows. We awoke to the shaking and shuddering of the house. Ruth took one lookoutside and began to mourn. Going to the kitchen to make coffee, I discovered enroute that the clerestory windows above the bookcase wall in the living room wereleaking, and I spent half an hour on the stepladder taking down kachina dolls,papier-mache Hindu gods, Hopi bowls, and other bric-a-brac from the drowned topshelf, sponging up a bowlful of water mixed with the cobwebs, dust, and dead fliesthat Minnie's house cleaning had left up there, setting a row of bread pans to catch thecontinuing drip, and removing from the shelves and propping open to dry most of thelifework of Joyce Carol Oates, Edwin O'Connor, Eugene O'Neill, and KatherineAnne Porter.


Then I got breakfast, which we ate as usual while listening to the "Today Show" andwatching the day develop outside the windows. It was not the day to entertain Italy'sgreatest novelist, the profound anatomist of passion, true heir of D'Annunzio, with adash of Cellini and a dollop of Casanova. Not the day to entertain anybody. As we setto work to prepare his welcome we alternated between anxiety that we might not beable to do right by him and a wan hope that he wouldn't come.


We are fond of Cesare in spite of his books. His books are overrated, but that isbecause he is completely of his time, and his time overrates itself. He is neither thefirst one nor the worst one to make a career out of the verbal exploration of thevarious bodily orifices, genital, an/al, and oral (not the moral orifices, he is lessinterested n those.)Maybe if I were younger, and my hormones more active, I mightappreciate his novels more. As it is, I have to think them compulsive, theatrical, anddecadent even while I find Cesare himself lively, amusing, and full of an attractivekind of Italian blarney. It is as much of an effort for me to flog my flagging sexualinterest through one of his books as it perhaps was for him to flog himself through thewriting of it. I suspect he much prefers the research to the writing. Nevertheless inperson he is engaging, the friendliest and best-natured of satyrs, far more fun than hisbooks and far less repulsive than his audience. Though I grumbled a little about hiscoming, I was actually looking forward to it. News of the Rialto, and all that. It is alsopossible to feel isolated even when you insist that that's what you want. It is alsopossible to feel that you should justify your retirement by showing off the puttinggreen and paddle tennis court.


We used to do that sort of thing a lot. We had invented Eden, and owed it a PR job.Probably we thought we were adapting to one of those illusions they call a life style.We wanted to our American plenty to show, but not too much. We wanted to make itclear that our tastes were simpler than our means would have permitted. We wanted todemonstrate that the rush to the suburbs and the country; when conducted by the rightpeople, could be an enhancement of civilization not an evasion of it. We had books,music, a garden, birds, country walks, friends. We were within ten minutes of a greatuniversity, with all it offered in intellectual and cultural weather, and less than an hourfrom the city that everybody in the world falls in love with. When we had Eastern orforeign visitors we watched them confidently for signs of envy. We wanted, maybejust little desperately, to be thought terribly lucky.


Well, we were, we are. But at our age, seven or eight years make a difference. Sincecoming out here we have lost a few friends by their moving away, and one very dearone by death. Eden with graves is no longer Eden. Moreover, we have had an invasionfrom the Land of Nod. The place has been moved in on by junior executives whoseupward mobility is always showing, whose new subdivisions scar the hills, and whoseattitudes sometimes offend the godly. So as the people we knew back East die, or areinstitutionalized, or take themselves off to Tucson or Sarasota or Santa Barbara toestivate their last years away as we are doing here, our contracts here shrink, too. Wehave half given the habit of minging with our fellow man; and minging; I suppose, isa little like sex. Use it or lose it. Like they say.


Result: we find it easier to stay at home and watch television, or read, than go out, andthese days when we entertain visitors we find them less a pleasure than an anxiety. Iget smitten with the the desire to make garden and patio worthy of admiringexclamations; Ruth cleans like Mrs. Craig arid cooks as if Julia Child were coming todine. We found ourselves preparing that way even for Cesare, who could make adesert island lively. Why? I wonder. Maybe sometime else, a determination to sendhim back to his crumbling old palazzo on the Botteghe Oscure crying aloud for thefelicity he left behind in California.


We were through breakfast by seven forty-five. By eight Ruth was in the kitchen withher glasses on and her cookbooks open, and I was out in the rain, doing my best not toblow away on every gust, trying to clean up the worst of the soggy leaves and trashthat had eddied into the entrance. The plum blossoms of the night before were only amemory. This was no warm Hawaiian wind. This storm that had overtaken the firstwas straight down from the Aleutians.


Streaming water off my slicker, my beret soaked, I brought in wood and laid a fire.With chicken breasts amandine for the main course, I decided to evoke Cesare'sappreciation with a good Green Hungarian; and put two bottles in to chill. To give arunning start to Minnie, who was due st nine, I emptied all the wastebaskets and thegarbage pail. When she didn't show up by nine, I went in and nnade the bed. Then I cleared some coat space in the front hall closet, and when my householder's eye wasoffended by the clutter of canes, umbrellas, and walking shoes stacked in there, Icleaned out the closet.


Nine-thirty, and no Minnie. Ruth, browning something in butter, compressed her lipsand worked her black eyebrows at me significantly."I thought maybe she could helpwith the cooking and serving," she said. "If she doesn't show up pretty soon she won'teven have the house tidied up."

九点半了,明妮还没来。露丝用黄油烤东西烤的焦黄,紧闭着嘴唇,挤着浓黑的眉毛意味深长地看着我。“ 我觉得明妮可以帮着做饭上菜,” 她说,她要是再不快点来的话,屋子也收抬不完了。 

I started washing up her pots and pans, which she redirtied as fast as I washed them.


By ten I had caught up with her, and the kitchen was filling with succulent smells, butstill no Minnie."She may not get here at all," I said. "There may be mud slides,washouts, down trees, all sorts of things. Maybe 1'd better do the vacuuming. Thenyou can put her to work right away if she comes."

10点的时候我终于跟上她的速度把所有的洗完了,厨房里也弥漫着浓汁的香味,但是明妮还没来。她也许来不了了,” 我说,“ 可能路上会有泥石流、水毁,要不就是树倒了之类的事情。我还是先去吸尘吧,她来了你就可以直接让她干活去了。” 

"Oh, if you would," Ruth said gratefully. Reaching to move something off the burner,she burned her writs. Grinning with pain, she held still while I smeared the inch-longburn with ointment which I, suburban preparedness freak, had stowed in a draweronly days before.

“ 啊,那就太好了。” 露丝满心感激地说。她本来是要伸手让某个东西离炉子远点的,结果把自己的手腕烫伤了。她疼得趾牙咧嘴,一动不动地让我给她涂药膏。我住在郊区,有所准备,几天前我就把这管药膏放到抽屉里了。

The more any situation looks to Ruth like darkest tragedy, the more I am inclined tobelieve it can be dealt with. My contrariness, I suppose. At that point I was hearty andcheerful, and though I had been preparing just anxiously as she had, I wished, frommy superior calm, to reassure her.


"Take it easy," I told her."Cesare never been known for his promptness. If he gets hereat all, and he might not, he's sure to be late. There's plenty of time. Just do yourcooking, and relax, and I'll go ahead and straighten up the house, and if worst comesto worst and we have no guests, we'll sit down together, just me and my Jo john, andeat the chicken breasts amandine and drink a cold bottle of Green Hungarian together."

 “ 别担心,” 我对她说,“ 切萨雷一贯都是这样急急忙忙的,也没人跟他说。他也不一定就会来,他要真的来了也不会那么准时的。时间还很充裕,你就把饭做好然后歇着就行,我来收拾家。如果最后他也来不了的话,那咱们就坐下来,就我和亲爱的你两个人,一起吃鸡胸肉杏仁蛋糕,再来一瓶冰镇的绿匈牙利葡萄酒。” 

"I don't know," she said, and looked at me (or herself) and laughed." If he doesn'tcome now, after getting us started in this, he'll never be welcome in my house again."

“ 好吧,” 她说,她看着我 (但也许是在看她自己) 笑了。“ 他把我们搞成这个样子,他要是今天不来的话,以后就别再来我们家了。” 

She had the lights on all over the house, to make things more cheerful that darkmorning. I got out the vacuum cleaner and plugged it in and made one pass across therug, and pop, the cleaner's howl died and all the lights went out.

她开了家里所有的灯,好让那个昏暗的早晨显得欢快一点。我拿出吸尘器,插上电,刚吸到地毯的另一边就听见 “ 砰 ” 的一声,吸尘器的轰轰声也没了,所有的灯都不亮了。

"Oh, I knew it!" came Ruth's cri de coeur from the kitchen.

 “ 我就知道会这样。” 厨房里传来露丝的抱怨声。

"Peace," I said, unruffled."It's probably just the circuit breaker."

 “ 淡定点儿,” 我镇定地说,“ 也许只是跳闸了。” 

Leaving the vacuum where it stood, I went and inspected the panel on the kitchen wall.While I was craning up at it, looking for a breaker that was kinked, the lights flashedon, and the vacuum began to howl and flounder. I arrived just too late to keep it frombumping into the piano leg. As I shut it off and straightened it up Ruth came running,looking like Medea, and popped her finger in her mouth and rubbed it over the dentedscar. The lights dimmed to a red pulse, flared up, and went out once more.


Unlighted, the room was gray and cold. The wind went past the plate glass absolutelyflat, and rain like tracer bullets swept the tops of the live oaks below the terrace. Icould barely see the valley or the country road; the hills opposite were only sodden,running outlines.


"What'll we do?" Ruth said.

“ 怎么办啊?”  露丝说。 

"Haven't you got candles?"

“ 有蜡烛么?”  

"Oh, candles! How'm I going to cook? How'll we keep the house warm? What'll wedo for water? We can't even flush the john."

“ 蜡烛!那我怎么做饭,怎么让家里暖和?怎么用水呢,连冲厕所都不行。” 

True. There are handicaps to country living in an all-electric house whose water ispumped from a well, in a country where the winter ground is like soup, so that treeslie down across the power lines when the wind blows. Once last winter the power wasoff nearly all day, so long that Ruth and I paid three different calls, to people wedidn't especially want to see, just to get to use a bathroom.


On the other hand, I was still feeling cheerful and competent. These little emergenciesstir the blood. I cope, therefor I arn.


"I'll light the fireplace," I said. "That'll both warm and cheerus. Johns-I don't know.What if I bring in some pails and kettles from the tank so wedon't have to run downthe pressure? Keep one flush in each john for the visitors. As for cooking, what isSterno for?"

“ 我会把壁炉点着,” 我说。“ 这就既不冷也不会显得压抑了。至于厕所啊,不太清楚谈。要不就从贮水池用桶和壶舀进一些水来,这样我们就不用按压力阀了。每个马桶旁边都给客人留够冲一次的水。做饭嘛,不还有固体酒精了么?” 

"Did you ever try to bake corn fingers with Sterno?" Ruth said. "Did you make anapricot suffle with Sterno?"

“ 你用固体酒精烤过玉米粒吗?你用固体酒精做过杏仁蛋奶酥吗?” 露丝说。

"Maybe they'll just have to do without corn fingers and apricot snuffle."

 “ 也许没有玉米粒和杏仁蛋奶酥他们也行呢?” 

"That would be quite a lunch. Chicken and salad."

“ 只有鸡肉和沙拉。那还是午餐吗? ” 

"And wine. He's eaten a damned sight worse. At least let's see if we can keep thechicken warm."

 “ 还有酒啊。他以前吃的更不好。至少先看看能不能不让鸡肉凉了。” 

I found two cans of Sterno, another fruit of my preparedness campaign, but no sign ofthe little tin stove to use them in. Ingenuity suggested tipping up a burner on theelectric stove, setting a can of Sterno in the well under it, and tipping the burner backflat. Presto. I was congratulating myself and trying to cheer my determinedly gloomywife when the door blew open and Minnie stamped in, wet-coated, hoo-hoofing like asteamboat, with a wet cigarette pasted to her lower lip.


"Heyyyyy! Ain't this sorne'm!"

“ 嘿!这不是……!” 

Every Tuesday morning she arrives at our door bursting with some dramatic tidings.Like any boiler or pressure tank, she must be eased of her burden gradually. She can'tbe hurried, she has to bubble and hiss herself quiet. Even on such a day as this weknow better than to interrupt her show. As when on some hot mountain road a travelerhears the rumbling under the hood and watches the temperature needle climb past thered and out of sight, and stops and opens the hood, with handkerchief around handmakes darting stabs at the radiator cap to pen it a little, but not too much, so theAllstons gave greetings to their cleaning lady, and waited for the jets of steam.


She kicked off her muddy shoes, she stripped off her raincoat and revealed the whitenurse's nylon that gives her status as a professional and imparts a touch of class to theestablishments sheis willing to assist. Rumbling with phlegmy laughter, squintingagainst imaginarysmoke from the cigarette that had been quenched in her run fromcar to door, she slid in stocking feet to the kitchen wastebasket and with a wet thumband finger dropped the disintegrating cigarette in among the garbage.


"You know what I see on my way over? Ha-ha! Them creeps! Lessee if their zoninglaws' ll take care of that one!"

“ 你知道我来的时候看见啥了吗?哈哈!那些小人!分区法规是否会眷顾那一个,我们等着瞧好了!” 

"Maybe my old funny self will get suppressed. You know how it is at Ben's. Youtell yourself you and your woodwind friends are going to get together with the flutestonight haven't seen the flutes for ages-but when Ben's baton comes down, youcome in. If he says dominoes, it'll be dominoes. If he says, `Let's go out in the pastureand stir up the llamas', we'll all become herdsmen of Andean carneloids. Rememberlast time, when I swore I was finally going to corner the Russian princes and satisfyour curiosity-what relation is she to Czar Nicholas, is she Romanoff or Golitsyn, didRasputin dandle her on his knee, has she got hemophilia (don't tell me, I know shecan't have), how did she escape being murdered with the rest of the royal family?Remember? I was determined. So Ben declares after dinner that we'll now playliterary charades, and the only contact I have with the princess all evening is to sit ather feet and try to guess what book of Virginia Woolf's she is suggesting by coughingand sneezing and blowing her nose."

“ 我这个风趣幽默的老人可能会感觉有点压抑。你知道,本家的聚会是什么样的。你告诉你自己和你木质管乐器的朋友们,你们今晚想搞个长笛合奏曲—好像很久没有见到木质管乐器啦—但要是本的指挥棒一出现,说要玩多米诺骨牌,那所有人都得玩多米诺骨牌。要是他说,‘ 让我们去牧场,挑逗挑逗安第斯驼 ’,那我们都得成安第斯驼的牧民。你记不记得上次,为了满足我们的好奇心,我下定决心发誓说要逼问俄罗斯公主,问她和察尔·尼古拉是什么关系,她是罗曼诺夫还是戈利岑,拉斯普京把她抱在腿上挑逗她了么,她得血友病了么(不要告诉我,我知道她不可能得。)她如何设法让自己和其他皇室家族免于谋杀的命运?记得么?我心意己定‘但是,晚饭过后,本说我们一起玩打哑谜猜字游戏,所以,一整个晚上,我都蹲在公主脚丫的旁边,猜测她通过咳嗽、打喷嚏、摒鼻涕想暗示弗吉尼亚.伍尔夫的哪本书。”

"You seem to have Virginia Woolf on the brain."

“ 你好像一直在想弗吉尼亚·伍尔夫。” 

"As a matter of fact, it was a damn good charade."

“ 事实上,那是个很有意思的看手势猜字谜游戏。”

"I suppose you have to tell me."

 “ 我觉得你得给我再解释解释。”

"Bennyway,"Ruth said this morning (she has these residual infantilisms, orMidwesternisms, or foreshortenings, or whatever they are, in her speech, another ofher favorite is jissec, "bennyway, at least you're feeling better:" That is her way ofconsoling herself for unslaked curiosity and the brevity of her castle experience. Wenever did plan to stay more than the one night, but the way it worked out, we had toinsist on getting out of there the first thing after breakfast, when our inclination was tohang around like a couple of village kids at a bathhouse knothole:

“ 顺便提一下,” 露丝今天早上说,“ 至少你感觉好一些了。” 这是她安慰自己的好奇心未获得满足以及城堡之旅略显短暂的方式。我们从来没有想过要再待一晚,但是发现我们离开的决心有点动摇,就像一对乡村孩子站在澡堂的木板门口那样犹豫。我们暗自坚持早饭之后就离开那里。 

I felt sorry for the countess. She was sad about her grandmother, and distressedtizat our holiday was spoiled, and unwilling to seem to hustle us away, but obviouslyvery willing to remove ourselves from the area of family crisis. Manor developed atic: she winked us out of the castle and into the Rover. Eigil we didn of see, nor MissWeibull. Nor the old countess, since she was dead. The little baron, rising to his dutyas man of the house, came out with Manor and the countess and gravely shook ourhands and wished us farvel and god rejse.

我对女伯爵感到很愧疚。她正为祖母过世伤着心,又得痛心:我们的假期遭到了破坏,也不情愿催促我们离开,但是又想让我们赶快从家族危机的泥潭中脱身。玛农颤抖了一下,目送我们离开城堡进入罗孚车。我们没有看到艾伊尔,也没有看到韦布尔小姐,更没有看到逝去的老女伯爵。小男爵升任了家族的主人,和玛农、女伯爵一起走出来,牢牢地握着我们的双手,和我们告别,祝我们 farvel and god rejse。

He also gave evidence of subversion. Just as I was sliding behind the wheel, sostiff I could hardly keep from groaning, he caught my eye with a little secret grin, andmoved his hand to show me the krane between his thumb and finger. I nodded, hestretched his arm and snapped, and the coin tinkled on the step behind him, a miss.Manor, winking, turned to see what had made the noise. The little baron neverblinked, never turned to see where his krone had fallen. There's a lot to be said fornoblesse oblige. He stood in line with the others and waved.


Nothing visible at the Sverdrup cottage as we drove by. I slowed and pointed itout to Ruth, who gave me a queer little sampathetic grimace. We drove on by it: thedeserted postcard.


So now for a week we have been speculating; and we know exactly what weknew before, and can draw only the same inferences from our information. We evenhave new questions. For instance, why has the countess stayed down at Qrebyslot fora full week? It doesn't take a week to bury an old lady; even allowing time for theclans to gather: She will have had to fraternize with Eigil, for it doesn't seem likely hewould stay out of sight all this time just to accommodate his unfriendly sister. Havethey made it up? Has the death of the old lady maybe given the countess an inheritance that will ease her situation?


I don't thrive in the presence of unknowns and variables. Extended guessingdoesn't intrigue me as it does Ruth. I keep returning, when she gets to speculating; tothe little we know. To wit:


Miss Weibull, a member of the (peasant) Sverdrup family, is pregnant. CountEigil was seen (by me) emerging from the Sverdrup cottage, which is suspiciouslywell kept, more guissed up than any farm cottage is likely to be. Moreover, MissWeibull lunched at the castle with the lady of the castle and her guests, a fact whichembarrased Manon and which the countess took as a deliberate affront, but whichneither; obviously, could do anything about. 'The inference is that Eigil, in the oldphrase, knocked up Miss Weibull, that he maintains her in the cottage as his mistress,and that at least on occasion, perhaps when he wants to insult his sister, he insists thatshe be taken into the family.


The countess abhors her brother. Karen Blixen says he is very able, but impliesthat he is skirt-crazy like his father, and suggests that the countess dislikes himbecause he is like her father. This in turn suggests that there was some sort ofsignificant relationship between the countess and her father, that she is hostile to, protective of, or shamed by, his memory. My singleafternoon with Eigil or persuadedme that, from his am/ateur archeology to his scientific estate management to histopspin tennis, he is a man of parts. Also that he is a stiff competitor, as afflicted byalbuer as any American or German, and could be tough on people (his sister, forinstance?) who opposed or crossed him.


Nevertheless he can also be agreeable, and certainly he kept his bond and stayedaway from the castle in order to give the countess her visit. So what is the cause of thesisterly detestation? Miss Weibull's interesting condition? Hardly. For one thing,that's only eight months old, at the most, and maybe four months visible, and thedetestation has been there, by the countess' own word, for years. Eigil's insistence thatMiss Weibull be brought into the castle might be a sound reason for his sister's dislike,but so far as I could see, that was a surprise to her, something new.


Right here there is an unrelated fact with potential significance: that MissWeibull is no pullet run down casually in the castle yard by the castle rooster. She is awoman of approximately the countess' age. It seems probable that if indeed there issomething between her and Eigil-and who could doubt it?-it must have startedyears ago, perhaps as many as years as the countess has detested her brother.


And how about the effect I produced at the table by mentioning the nameSverdrup? Everybody there excerpt Ruth and the little baron reacted as if to hydrogensulphide. I may even have brought on the old lady's attack, though Ruth tries to assureme that nobody can take any blame for the strokes and heart attacks of a person nearlya hundred years old. Still, how do you read it? Here she comes out tottering, proppedup by pride and will to do her matriarch's duty to her granddaughter and hergranddaughter's friends, and pow, said friend utters the forbidden name, smoke rises,there is a stink of brimstone, beautiful ladies turn into spouted beasts, the plates slitherwith live eels, the family portraits reel on the walls, and the offending one saveshimself only by laying his knife and fork crosswise. The matriarch holds herselftogether long enough to be helped out, and drops dead.


And what about the Doctor Faustusof genetics?They hounded him,Eigil says.For what? For hybridizing rhododendronsand breedinga select line of pointers?


"Well," Ruth said at breakfast this morning, "why do we go on gnawing on thesame old bones? He was a prominent man-a very prominent man. Wouldn't there besome way of finding out about him? He must be in the Danish equivalent of Who'sWho. Would you need to know more Danish than you do? I should think somelibrarian at the university could help you dig something up."

“ 好吧,” 露丝在早餐期间说,“ 为什么我们一直在固守一个办法呢?他是一个杰出的男人---一个非常杰出的男人。难道没有别的方法可以了解他么?他应该也在丹麦的《名人录》里面吧。你还需要再学点丹麦语么?我觉得大学里的图书管理员或许可以帮你发现一些线索。” 

Which makes sense. Maybe the embassy could help, too. It's time I checked inthere anyway. Tomorrow. Since I've been feeling better (a spell of drier weather, orthe effect of Eigil's tennis?) I feel more of an impulse to get out and around.


Christ, wouldn't you a think I'm old enough to keep my fingers out of theDisposaIl? I'm not writing a book, or editing a newspaper, or conducting a criminalinvestigation. Nobody hired me as a private eye, I didn't have to get into this. Buthere I am just the same, ad mainly what I seem to be doing is trying not to believewhat I've found out.


There's no mistake in identif cation, that's sure. The girl at the humanitiessection of the university library was prompt, efficient, and imaginative. I sat at a tablein the reference room arid she piled things at my elbow a foot high: A history ofDenmark. A history of science. The Danish equivalent of Who's Who. A picture bookof Danish castles and manor houses. The roll of the nobility, equivalent to Burke'sPeerage, what the English call the stud book. With my pencil and notebook I sat therefor an hour, dictionary open, taking down facts.


Landgreve Aage Karl R.Qrdding, 1874-1938., etc., was the son of Greve PrederikErik R., q.v. Married Charlotte Hedinge, daughter of Gr. Nis Heddinge, -q.v. MarriedAnna Marie Kraup, a cousin, daughter of Baron Axel Kraup of Spottrup, q.v. ChildrenEigil Johan; 1912-, and Hannah Astrid, 1914-. Since the 12thcentury the family seatof the Reddings has been at Qrebyslot, Lolland, q.v.

兰德格利弗。奥格.卡尔。罗丁 (1874---1938) ……,是格雷韦。弗雷德里克.埃里克,罗丁的儿子。格雷温德.夏洛特·赫丁格是格雷温德.尼什·赫丁格的女儿。兰德格利弗.奥格·卡尔·罗丁娶了他的表妹安娜.马里·克拉鲁普,安娜是巴龙·阿克塞尔·克拉鲁普·斯波特鲁普的女儿。两个人的孩子有:艾伊尔·约翰 (1912---),汉娜·阿斯特丽兹 (1914---)。从12世纪开始,罗丁家族就在罗兰岛苏莱比斯洛特定居了。  

Which see. In the picture book on castles, Qrebyslot occupied six pages inromantic soft focus: the castle itself, its stepped gables and ivy lifting beyond thewrought-iron gates; views of the ballroom, the great hall, the dining room, one of.thedrawing rooms; views of the English park, complete with peacocks, and said to besuperior to anything in Denmark except perhaps the park at Knuthenborg; a picture ofa stag with a great rack of horns, another of spotted fawn curled up among ferns; twoviews of the extensive botanical gardens developed by Landgreve Aage Rradding,famous throughout the world for his studies in genetics. The castle, park, and gardens,which during the eaxly years of the twentieth century were the scene of brilliant socialgatherings as well as the center of much important scientific work, have been closedto the public since Landgreve Rodding's death in 1938. T'he estate is presently ownedby his son, Landgreve Eigil Rodding.


Nothing wrong with any of that, except that it made me wonder why the countesshas never told us anything about her father. (obviously he was as distinguished asEgigil says he was. If I were halfway educated, T would have known his name the way I’d know the name of Pasteur and Madame Curie. He was obviously the sort ofscientific national hero that Niels Bohr is now, the sort the Danes honor by giving himthe Carlsberg Castle to live in. Along with King Canute, Hamlet; Soren Kierkegaard,Hans Christian Anderson, and Bohr, he is Denmark's contribution to the world mind.He came a little early to get into the nucleic acid and RNA and DNA and all thatbusiness that they're so excited about now, but he was into fruit flies very early, andhe seems tohave seen the possibilities of molecular biology when it was no biggerthan a man's hand. Nevertheless, according to the history of science that gave him twofivll pages, it is as an extender and perfecter of Mendel, ad as a contributor to thepragmatic sciences of hybridization and stock breeding, that he is best known.


In the 1920s, Qrebyslot was evidently a great laboratory where theoreticalbiology and experiments in breeding and hybridization went on simutaneously. A lotof the brilliance the countess remembers from her girlhood was a result of the doubledistinction of her father as a scientist and a great nobleman. Even the merely frivolousand sporting aspects of life at the castle; the royal hunts, the kennels, the cultivatedwild coverts full of cultivated tame game, had that quality of double excellence.


But they hounded him. For what? Not a hint in my source books.


I got the reference librarian to bring me files of Berlingske Tidende from thebeginning of 1938 up to September 23, when Rodding died, and started through thembackward, beginning with the day after his death. His obituary was there all right. Andright away a surprise. Rradding had shot himself, off in the woods of his estate atEllebacken, near Helsing}ar. They hounded him to his death, then. But no indication inthe newspaper story, so far as I could read it, about why he had shot himself-just theusual newspaper-story details. Body found by a farmer. Resume of Count Radding'scareer as a scientist. Details about the funeral and interment-funeral private,interment at Ellebacken rather than at the family seat of Qrebyslot. (No explanation ofthat, either.) List of supervivors, only two: Greve Eigil Tohan Rodding and GrevindeHannah Astrid Wredel-Krarup. Astrid's mother, it appeared,~already dead.

我请图书馆参考书阅览室的馆员帮我找了从1938年年初到9月23日 (即罗丁先生的死亡之日) 的《贝林日报》。我从罗丁先生死亡之后的那一天开始往前翻阅。我找到了他的讣告,没错。接着,就有了出乎意料的发现。罗丁是开枪自杀的,就在他位于埃勒巴肯的庄园树林里,靠近赫尔辛格。那么,他们逼他走上自杀之路的?但是,在报纸上面的短篇消息中,没有讲到他自杀的原因—只是一则普通的新闻消息:尸体是由一位农民发现的:还有罗丁伯爵作为科学家的简介;关于葬礼的介绍—采用的私人葬礼,安葬在埃勒巴肯,而不是家族在苏莱比斯洛特的宅基地。(对此,也没有解释。)还列出了家族成员的幸存者,只有两人:格雷韦·艾伊尔·约翰.罗丁和格雷温德。汉娜·阿斯特丽兹·弗雷德一克拉鲁普。阿斯特丽兹的母亲好像已经过世。 

There was not much point in the riffling through browning pages that I set out todo. Without an index I was simply lost, and since my Danish was lame and slow Iwouldn't have found anything anyway unless the name Bedding had jumped out atme from a headline. After a half hour of it I left the library and went outside and tooka cab over to the American Embassy on Qsterbrogade.


Instead of going in to see Mr. Burchfield, the Public Affairs Officer who was saidto be well informed about things Danish, I should have come straight home toHavnegade 13 and buried my nose in a book.


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