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Forebodings Two Sketches part 3

“Let my fate go whither it listeth.”

In the darkest corner of a ward, in the bed marked number twenty- four, a farm laborer of about thirty years of age had been lying for several months. A black wooden tablet, bearing the words “Caries tuberculosa,” hung at the head of the bed, and shook at each movement of the patient. The poor fellow’s leg had had to be amputated above the knee, the result of a tubercular decay of the bone. He was a peasant, a potato-grower, and his forefathers had grown potatoes before him. He was now on his own, after having been in two situations; had been married for three years and had a baby son with a tuft of flaven hair. Then suddenly, from no cause that he could tell, his knee had pained him, and small ulcers had formed. He had afforded himself a carriage to the town, and there he had been handed over to the hospital at the expense of the parish.

He remembered distinctly how on that autumn afternoon he had driven in the sple

The Soul of Veere Part 4

Then
in those miniature houses there was a gradual animation, and the reappearance
of life that seemed to have slept for ages behind closed doors, awaiting only
the coming of the pale young man with the accordion. Behind the windows there
was laughter on the faces j of young girls with their white headdresses
decorated with quaint spirals sticking out like antennae.

All
the pretty girls of Veere were there behind their lace curtains, with mouths
agape like roses in ; a cloud of bees. Seeing them thus emerge out of the deep
shadows and come, with fresh complexions, to their windows, I imagined these 1
homes to be real dolls’ houses brought to life by enchantment—the houses of all
the dolls of Veere, with their lovely bare arms tanned by the salt air, their
great bulged skirts, their little colored heads and eyes tinted like the sea.

So
the musician went here and there through the streets, his wild airs j changing
to sad and plaintive strains that brought tear

The Soul of Veere Part 3

I
was amazed at the sudden opening of the door and the appearance of a handsome
young man with strange eyes. He wore a short jacket of velvet with the silver
clasps ordinarily worn by the men of Zeeland. He carried an accordion such as
is sold in the harbor shops and played by sailors at sea, when of an evening
they draw silver tones from it, now rippling quickly and now long drawn out.

The
young man looked as though he had been rudely awakened out of a dream. Was
this, I wondered, the boy who, as Pielje, said, was always “playing his little
tunes”?

He
walked by me without so much as turning his head, passing along pink-tinted
walls, long straight windows of aged glass, and little gardens planted with
cabbage and onions. He slowly crossed the public square, while once again the
little carillon rang out in crystal tones, singing its sad song of the ultimate
agony of Veere.

The
wind softly scattered the notes and sent them flying over the roofs of h

The Soul of Veere Part 2

Over
there behind the ramparts lies the open sea with its ships, while overhead the
arching sky, heavy with clouds, bears down upon the expanse of the sea. In that
town I felt I was dying myself, that my feeble heart beat so faintly, while my
fingers made some slight sign of life toward the sun.

“That
little Pietje was trying to take advantage of my credulity,”

I
said to myself. “Or else she’s talking about something that happened long ago,
before everyone had died here.”

At
that moment the carillon sang out its sweet little song. It re-minded one of a
Sunday afternoon in summer at grandfather’s, as the old man sat watching the
dust filter in from the street under the door, his hands crossed over the head
of his cane.

The
air it played sounded like that of some old broken music-box. The sounds
trickled lazily down from the belfry and saddened me; it was as if I had
suddenly heard the song that sang the last agonies of old Veere.

The Soul of Veere Part 1

Camille Lemonnier (1844-1913)

Lemonnier
has, from the very beginning of his career in 1863, re-mained an interpreter of
Belgian life, and particularly of the life of the peasants. His novels are
powerful exhibitions of the brutality of humankind, yet penetrated with a
moving beauty of form and style. Lemonnier wrote several volumes of short
stories, of which many reveal the melancholy aspect of old Flemish towns.

The
Soul of Veere is highly characteristic of this latter type of story.

It
originally appeared in a volume entitled It Was in Summer, first published in
1900. The translation by Barrett H. Clark, here printed for the first time, is
included by permission of Albin Michel, publisher, Paris.

The Soul of Veere

Little
Pietje, who belonged to the inn on the public square, asked J me whether I had
ever seen the boy who was always “playing his little tunes?” Now, what did she
mean by that?

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