Tuesday, November 16, 2004

After a while I went on with my business, examining and roughly classifying the contents of the drawers. There were many letters. These I set aside to be gone through later. Newspaper cuttings in a gaudy book, an impossible butterfly on its cover. No, none of them were reviews of his own books: Sebastian was much too vain to collect them; nor would his sense of humour allow him to paste them in patiently when they did come his way. Still, as I say, there was an album with cuttings, all of them referring (as I found out later when perusing them at leisure) to incongruous or dream-absurd incidents which had occurred in the most trivial places and conditions. Mixed metaphors, too, I perceived, met with his approval, as he probably considered them to belong to the same faintly nightmare category. Between some legal documents I found a slip of paper on which he had begun to write a story—there was only one sentence, stopping short but it gave me the opportunity of observing the queer way Sebastian had—in the process of writing—of not striking out the words which he had replaced by others, so that, for instance, the phrase I encountered ran thus: “As he a heavy A heavy sleeper, Roger Rogerson, old Rogerson bought old Rogers bought, so afraid Being a heavy sleeper, old Rogers was so afraid of missing to-morrows. He was a heavy sleeper. He was mortally afraid of missing to-morrow’s event glory early train glory so what he did was to buy and bring home in a to buy that evening and bring home not one but eight alarm clocks of different sizes and vigour of ticking nine eight eleven alarm clocks of different sizes ticking which alarm clocks nine alarm clocks as a cat has nine which he placed which made his bedroom look rather like a”

I was sorry it stopped here.
Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight