Yes, if Bergdoll has been staying in Eberbach, the good Herr Leutz will know all about it.
MR CONRAD’S NEW PREFACE
Joseph Conrad, so we learn from the March Bookman, has written a preface to a cook book about to be published by Mrs. Conrad.
We like to think about that preface. We wonder if it will be anything like this:
I remember very well the first time I became aware of the deep and consoling significance of food. It was one evening at Marlow’s, we were sitting by the hearth in that small gilded circle of firelight that seems so like the pitiful consciousness of man, temporarily and gallantly relieved against the all-covering darkness. Marlow was in his usual posture, cross-legged on the rug. He was talking.... I couldn’t help wondering whether he ever gets pins and needles in his legs, sitting so long in one position. Very often, you know, what those Eastern visionaries mistake for the authentic visit of Ghautama Buddha is merely pins and needles. However. Humph. Poor Mrs. Marlow (have I mentioned her before?) was sitting somewhere in the rear of the circle. I had a curious but quite distinct impression that she wanted to say something, that she had, as people say, something on her mind. But Marlow has a way of casting pregnancy over even his pauses, so that to speak would seem a quite unpardonable interruption.
“The power of mind over matter,” said Marlow, suddenly, “a very odd speculation. When I was on the Soliloquy, I remember one evening, in the fiery serenity of a Sourabaja sunset, there was an old serang....”
In the ample drawing room, lit only by those flickering gleams of firelight, I seemed to see the others stir faintly—not so much a physical stir as a half-divined spiritual uneasiness. The Director was sitting too close to the glow, for the fire had deepened and intensified as the great logs slowly burned into rosy embers, and I could smell a whiff of scorching trouser legs; but the courageous man dared not move, for fear of breaking the spell. Marlow’s tale was a powerful one: I could hear Mrs. Marlow suspire faintly, ever so faintly—the troubled, small, soft sigh of a brave woman indefinably stricken. The gallantry of women! In a remote part of the house a ship’s clock tingled its quick double strokes.... Eight o’clock, I thought, unconsciously translating nautical horology into the dull measurements of landsmen. None of us moved. The discipline of the sea!
Mrs. Marlow was very pale. It began to come over me that there was an alien presence, something spectral and immanent, something empty and yet compelling, in the mysterious shadow and vagueness of the chamber. More than once, as Marlow had coasted us along those shining seascapes of Malaya—we had set sail from Malacca at tea time, and had now got as far as Batu Beru—I had had an uneasy impression