by Mark Dorset
It is the dangerous hour of clear understanding. Oh, for a kindly
hand to tap at my door! Oh, for a face to come between me and the
made-up counselor spying on me out of the mirror! Chance, my friend
and master, will surely deign to send again, to help me, the familiar devils
of his unruly kingdom! l have no faith, except in him—and in myself.
Particularly in him, for, when I sink, he fishes me up again, and grips
and shakes me like a rescuing dog, whose teeth every time meet in my skin!
So that every time I sink, I do not expect a final catastrophe, but only
some adventure, some trivial, commonplace miracle which, like a sparkling
link, may close up again the necklace of my days.
Renée Néré in Colette’s (Sidonie Gabrielle Claudine Colette’s), La Vagabonde
(translated by Charlotte Remfry Kidd)
I feel that there is much to be said for the Celtic belief that the
souls of those whom we have lost are held captive in some inferior being,
in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate object, and so effectively
lost to us until the day (which to many never comes) when we happen to
pass by the tree or to obtain possession of the object which forms their
prison. Then they start and tremble, they call us by our name, and
as soon as we have recognized their voice the spell is broken. We
have delivered them; they have overcome death and return to share our life.
Proust, Swann’s Way, Overture
Here is the character Augusto, talking to himself in Miguel de Unamuno’s Mist (Niebla), on the subject of chance, after falling in love with Eugenia, who passed his door, by chance:
“A chance apparition? But what apparition may that not be? And what is the logic of apparitions? It is the same as the logic of this succession of figures formed by the smoke of my cigar. Chance! Chance is the inner rhythm of the world; chance is the soul of poetry. Ah, my chanceful Eugenia! This life of mine, quiet, modest, and routine, is a Pindaric ode woven of the thousand trifles of daily events. Daily events! Give us this day our daily bread! Give me, O Lord, the thousand small events of each day. It is not the great pains, nor the great joys, to which we succumb; and this is because the great pains and the great joys come wrapped in a vast mist of trifling incidents. And life is just this—mist. Life is a nebula. And out of it now arises Eugenia. But who is Eugenia? Ah, it begins to dawn upon me that for some time past I have been looking for her. And while I was in the process of looking for her, there she turned up right in front of me. Isn’t that what you mean by finding something?”
mute coincidence: a coincidence without any significance, such as “At the very moment when Professor Avenarius stepped into the Jacuzzi and felt the warm stream of water on his back, in a public park in Chicago a yellow leaf fell off a chestnut tree.”
Milan Kundera, Immortality
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|Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Eric
A Topical Guide to the Complete Peter Leroy (so far) is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this guide may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
Portions of A Topical Guide to the Complete Peter Leroy (so far) were first published by Voyager, Inc., as part of The Complete Peter Leroy (so far).
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.
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