The Death of a Mad Composer
A Symphony in Five Movements

Opus V


He died, then.
(that's how it begins.)
Eusebius who could not live without love, ceased to be. He could not live in the world, abandoned, and hear one note of which he dedicated to her, played
For it seemed all to be a cruel lie; and I was mute.
For how can an instrument unstrung, resound a single chord?
It could not, and with the ceasing of my major C, my minor A fell mute.
There was a nurse who was not afraid of the madman, and his pen and papers, and she would come and speak with Florestan in the mornings, when the light drained into the room.
He could imagine that given the right provocation he could once again bear the thought of touching a woman,

but only one who did not remind him of she who had broken apart his world, and caused his soul to flee.
His body had its own simple wisdom, and made its requirement known, but Florestan was so self disgusted with his body that he paid no heed.

It was a cello part, that was all. An underlying tone of unacknowledged Tier-life. The beast which he inhabited.

After the ceasing of Eusebius, a young neurotic with shocking black hair and green eyes was admitted, and when he greeted the madman for the first time in the morning room, the boy came to him and embraced him with the forceful violence of terror and need.

The youth had been incarcerated (unlike the madman, who was free to come and go if he wished,) for an unnatural desire, and this was acceptable to Florestan.

He was not closely watched, since he was known to be indifferent to all, and never tormented or cajoled the young women, or the youths.

The prisoner, Andreas Wolf or Wolk, was enamored briefly of the madman. For a period of weeks, until the Psychiater pronounced the boy cured, they shared an assignation in full daylight while others took their midday walk.

A curious cure.
It removed the annoyance of a constantly resounding cello.
It is well
The madman spoke
For all he said was "Flee from her"
And all he wrote were dots and lines on staves, and when he did not have staves he would spend hours making them,
with a good pen and a careful amount of ink.

20 August 1855

the vein in the madman’s throat was throbbing, pizzicato. So he found a long soft scarf and wound it around his throat until the sound, somewhat of the throbbing was muffled in his ears… how could this be? he briefly wondered.

…when she found him thus, to take a clavier lesson on a piece he had written, she would turn on her seat and tease with her impossible, hard fingers, the end from where it lay buried in a knot behind his ear, where it would not trouble him, and work it free. The first time she tried this he refrained from batting away her hand and instead blew out a noisy disgusted breath. This caused her to stop the flirtation long enough to express her pique. “Have you something to say, Herr F?”

“Do you always have such trouble with triplets?” he replied quietly. At which she attacked the keys as if she were a tiger aligning its claws upon the stripes of a zebra's back, and without consulting the music, played the piece to the end, double time, without flaw. Her technique, he observed, appeared on the attack, unschooled - it was dramatic, passionate, and like the rest of her, flirtatious. Her hands were beautiful. But she had the technique of her father, and the precision of a metronome. He found, despite how much older he was than she, that the insistent driving passion of the girl was likely to overwhelm him at any moment - but what did she want with him? That, he did not know. What did young girls want?

“Herr F.” she called him, for when he first came to Wieck for instruction, he had told her to call him Herr Florestan, and she lisped over the name so embarrassingly that she shortened it to F.

As he tightened the cloth around his neck he felt a sudden, gleeful impulse, and twisted the knot in his fist until his breath cut off completely. Briefly, the pizzicato crescendoed into a roaring mixture of uncontained parts, until he finally relaxed his hand. Death would give him no such brief finale.

…The dark house
Into which I fled
In the pierced hour
When grief had overcome me
When death had bled from
All my pores;
Is there no end to grief?
the mourning choir, sings

And torments the ears
That hear but murmurs…
If only that which hammers
On the keys inside my brains
Would cease…
If only there were quietude
And sleep…

An apparition howled in Florestan’s ear, and he whimpered in fear, briefly, until he recognized the too-familiar face of his friend, who came each week despite all of his abuse and neglect.

“Is that you, Eusebius?” Johannes greeted him, in a questioning voice.

“No, Eusebius is dead. You will not get your sonata,” Florestan growled. “Don’t bother asking.”

“And when did Eusebius die?” Johannes persisted, stupidly.

“When you murdered him, Johannes,” Florestan replied, meeting his eyes, speaking directly at him.

I always cringed when Florestan would grapple with Johannes that way. What was the point? The man had what he wanted, and Florestan was in the right and he knew it - why struggle over what was done?

“And will you see her?” Johannes ignored Florestan’s outburst. He was very good at ignoring obvious things.

“No. I can’t. It must not be.”

“Why is this?” You stupid stupid man.

“Don’t you have something else to do? Can’t you teach my son to play trombone? Everyone wants trombones. Must be an American innovation.

“Why will you not see her?” Johannes persisted, ignoring the trombones as well. That was the sound! he kept hearing. It was not a cello plucked, it was a trombone blatting.

“Do you remember, Johannes, when you could not write a single note, and had not a pfennig for a breakfast or a coffee, and when you came to me and I gave you a room, and you asked me to stay with you that night?”

Johannes’ face at last registered attention, and he blushed suddenly. Florestan was almost sad at the utterness of Johannes’ shame; he almost regretted it. But Johannes should not have pushed him this far with his questioning - will you see her, will you see her… this will be his reward.

“Why do you speak of this?”

“Because you speak of that!” I countered.

“What!” his pique had registered now. He was slow to anger, was Johannes.

“Fear not!” I pronounced. “I am declared insane, no one would believe me.”

“What is it that you want?” he cried at last, the old argumentative, plaintive child he had always been, broke through. “Money. Do you want money?”

Florestan laughed, a nasty sound at the best of times. “No, Johannes. Not money. I want my soul back. Can you sell it back to me?”

“Your -“

“My light. My life. My love.”

“What are you saying? An edge of desperation had raised the pitch of his voice, and Florestan sensed that Uschi, the attentive nurse, had come to the sound of raised voices, to warn the doctor that the madman had become disturbed with his visitor.

“I will settle for performances,” Florestan answered, coyly now. “You can convince them to put on performances of my work.”

“To keep you from saying…”

“To keep your youthful infatuation between us two. After all, most of us have something we would rather have forgotten. But I have the curse of memory, of those nights with you; they have etched themselves into my mind and torment me. I may have to talk with Herr Dr. B. about them. That is all the new theory - unnatural passions in the humours, corrupting the mind. All due to you. There is a boy here they committed, for just such - an unnatural passion.” But Johannes was not listening.

Johannes had lost his humour, speaking of humours, and was ready to depart. He stormed out.

There was always another Sunday afternoon Florestan could set aside to torment him further. An idle thought returned to him - would Johannes actually arrange for performances? Was he that cowed by his own self-doubt? If so, Johannes could use a rest here, and I should go home.

later that day

A long, enduring silence.

I slept, it seemed, for days. having sacrificed Johannes on the altar of Florestan’s scorn, I was granted silence at last, where no tone shrieked at me from ear or window.

The madman collapsed in gradual belief that silence was his, and he circled quietly around that despised furnishing, his bed, and sat upon it, as though to imagine the prospect of sleep.

And leapt up again, to find a hard crust left from his unfinished breakfast, gnaw on it to test its echo and listen for the timpani that must ensue from hard bread. A scrape of teeth, certainly - then a low sound of swallowing. Then Silence. Then silence it was, and had to be.

He marched back to the bed, and sat down with some intent now. Some purpose.

Florestan made no commentary - this, a surprise. No musical metaphor to answer the motif, known in theory, as silence. He could hear, faintly, though, his breathing. His eyes closed. Sleep came suddenly.

He fell over, into the sleep of the exhausted, and no eye remained open to watch for the claws of a striking tiger upon the ivory keys of his striped back. He ceased entirely, until sundown. Almost a normal sleep. It was his first sleep in eighty days that lasted more than an hour, and it was undisturbed by sound.

When he awoke, he thought he sensed Eusebius, but that was not possible. Eusebius had ceased. All that was of harmony, had ceased. Silence, however.

He slept again. Uschi, his attendant, had brought food sometime in the interim, and long hours after it had grown cold, the smell of the soup eventually stirred him. But when he tried to sit up, he was unable. He was too stiff from sleep.

Eventually, the numbness in his arms and legs receded and he was able to sit. And almost abandoned the task to regain the bed once again, his refuge from the world of square things and sound. And he lost consciousness once again, falling upon his side, the most numb side. But in time his angel came to him, almost as though he had called her, and when his eyes opened and his gaze met her eyes he begged her, silently, for silence. He did not wish for the angel to speak and break the holy silence. When she began to speak he held up a hand and placed it against her lips, gently. His sense of touch was barely there and he could not tell if he had brushed her lips or slapped her, from the numbness, but she received his message and said nothing. That was the sensitivity and appreciativeness of the girl, that she knew the greatest pain he endured, was sound, no matter how slight. She helped him to sit up, and she dearly wanted to ask him, he knew, whether he could feel his arms or not, so she thought it, and he nodded his head and shuffled his feet to show he had feeling in those as well. He struggled to rise to his feet, and could not. She lifted his arm to help him, and at length he straightened, and stood. He was profoundly dazed, and almost went backward again, and as he teetered he felt the warm, strong body of the girl against him, unselfconsciously lending its strength to him, the pressure of her breast against his arm as she kept him from falling, the wisp of hair that had escaped in her exertion, awakening at last the sensation upon the surface of his flesh.

I became alive, incrementally, once again, and woke to the awareness of the angel who had rescued me from the sweaty mass of bedding. She helped me to the chair, and in that transit, in which I stumbled as much as possible so she would embrace me as much as possible, I remained both mute and pliable, for anything else would be misconstrued, and ignoble. When she had seated me she went out, directly, and returned to make the bed. Thus I had my early schauspiel for the night, watching the angel making up my bed while I sat appearing inattentive while I once again realized that I am a man, and it was a comforting feeling. I had wondered, reflected in the eyes of that youth, what he saw. Did he see Dorothea, when he regarded me, when he clung to me? I saw a youth. My perception did not change. But did their perceptions of me, change? Why they would seek my attentions, was what I did not comprehend; why had they always? I had no desire to speak, or to hear anything but the slight sounds of the girl as she did her duty. But speak I did because I knew it would relieve her anxieties about me.

“I slept!” I croaked. “And spoke not! For silence has come!” My voice echoed weirdly in my ears, as though unaccustomed to such exertion.

“Yes, Herr S, I observed you. Did you not hear me come in to sit and read next to you while you slept? I thought you had, for you cried out several times.”

“I did not!” I objected. “What did I say?”

The girl blushed, all angel, all beauty, there was no guile in her. Why could not I have married such innocence, and slept with innocence each night rather than lies? With innocence, Eusebius would have lived and not died; he might have made love to a woman and fathered something beautiful… but there was no beauty left… I wept, even as the girl replied, silently, and my tears fell from me, like rain from the tortured sky.

“You said again and again - ‘cease! Johannes.’

“That would make sense, then.” I answered, my voice cracked and broken from my tears.

“What would you like him to cease, Herr S ?”

“I would like him to cease copulating with my wife,” Florestan replied.

“Oh my!” she gasped. “Your wife! Is that what he told you yesterday? Is that why you grew so angry with him?”

“Yes, Uschi. He is an ungrateful man. But you must not say anything to anyone about this. He is also a well known man, and this knowledge would destroy his reputation. I do not want to do this to him, for he is my friend. You must promise me this.”

“We are already charged with keeping the confidences of our patients, Herr S. There is no need for an additional promise.”

“But there is!” Florestan’s voice rose petulantly, and I hated that sound. “He could help me, if he knew I did not intend to punish him for this. Please do not prevent him from helping me. He remains my only friend, despite his crimes.”

“I understand, Herr S” she said quietly. But her eyes shone, strangely. And she came toward me then, as though my pain and shame at my new status as a cuckold had attracted her to me. She had that selfsame look that women used to give me when they spied me on the street, when they stared, or when they sought to engage me in conversation, seizing me by the arm and attempting to spirit me away bodily. Uschi was at the same time more bold and more restrained, for she placed a cool hand upon my face and stroked it lightly - yes, the feeling had returned to my flesh, and prickled at first, wherever it was touched. “I am just very sorry for your troubles. That is why you came here, isn’t it? Because of your wife.”

“Yes,” Florestan hissed, and I silenced him and continued. “I could not bear it, and so this was my only retreat.”

“This I understand as well.”

“But I would flee this place as well if it were not for you and for Frau Unverhau, you know this, do you not?”

“Yes, Herr S.”

“I cannot bear the cruelty and scorn of women. You are free of scorn.”

“Thank you, Herr S.”

She yearned toward me and I could feel myself desire to withdraw . Florestan’s heart pounded with both anger and an opposing desire, and I silenced him. He would not remain silent for long, this I could sense. For soon, I would have to give all over to Florestan, and he would reign in my stead. She wanted me to kiss her, but that, I could not do. I let her yearn and breathe into my face, for a long, long moment, and I dared not open my eyes to see what she might desire to show me. I know women, the mere regard itself enflames their unquenchable bodies, and once they have tasted of a particular dish, will not ever release it from their palate. If I refrained, she would return her guise to angelic, and the moment of baseness might pass. It might. Time would tell. If Florestan did nothing to encourage her. I did not need a woman. I needed silence. I needed my light.

21 August 1855

Falling from the windows of my eyes
From the fleeing of my soul,

Ich bin, gefallen,
Fallen out of my bed, Florestan, stumbles up from the floor. Laughing wildly as he watched Johannes from the window, splashing in his impossibly large boots, out of his carriage, and lo! He brings a visitor! A young man, of course,

Surpassingly thin and frail, it could be a younger version of the whippet-thin Johannes from twenty years ago, as though the double, regressed through time, wearing the thinner, cheaper copies of Johannes’ boots, to slog through the rain of the Palatine; all to come to see the madman in Bonn.

What is the point (Florestan raged), if not to put himself into my hands for me to punish?

My angel, unfortunately off duty, leaves me in the hands of the cold, efficient Sophie, who takes a sadistic pleasure in taking away my papers and of putting my pens in places where I cannot find them.

Impossible! the girl. When Florestan snatched his pen back from her the first time, she nearly growled. She is not fooled by his excesses. She treats all of the mad as self-indulgent children, which is what we are. She believes that only those who labor with both limbs and backs, as she does, are worthy of their pay. She is Bayerische - everything is cured by clean air and walking.

Where is her clean air in Endenich?

It is women like Sophie who convince Florestan that women altogether as a group, constitute the Devil. This does not explain his profound and recurrent desire for them, which I find disgusting and unworthy. How does that persistent wantonness, that haunts Florestan’s nights, reconcile itself to his indignation with Johannes? How does that elevate him to any higher standard of morality? it does not, and I remind him daily, many times daily, that there is no justification for vengeance against Johannes, only pity for the Tier desire that imprisons yet another emotional, eager composer, fallen into the cage of the tiger - beautiful, sensual, and cold.

As Johannes makes his way inexorably to my rooms through layers of administrative detail, the close questioning now imposed by Frau Unverhau concerning his need to refrain from unnecessary allusions to “She” during our visit, and a careful timing of my meal so that I will not toss it all up from my stomach in a fit of Florestan’s disgust afterward. I compose - ! - myself for restraining Florestan, but it is far, far too late for me; only Eusebius could quell him entire, and only by the starkest entreaty;
withholding music, refusing him sweets, and all manner of sensorial deprivation. I could not impose these disciplines, lacking the will to do aught but sleep and wait to die.

Dying, I could do. Albeit slowly.

“He comes!” Florestan cackles. “Fresh from the arms of his mistress, fresh from dandling your daughter on his lap, where even now he dreams of still younger, riper flesh to sate him…”

Florestan - cease! I wept, and gritted my teeth, and with the clash of teeth, inexorable, the Tone resounded as it were a blow into my brain, beginning as a buzz, then growing into a dizzying gong, and I staggered and nearly fell against the chair. The sound! The blatting of a trumpet, the squawking of a trombone!

I had a brief vision, that God was punishing me for overusing horn parts. Wasn’t that the problem all along? Now the horns are following me to my demise - keeping me up at night, walking down the halls with the tapping of Sophie’s hard soled shoes, keeping the tempo at quarter note at 54 - feierlich!

I cannot face Johannes and his new little protégé today, to entertain Florestan with endless thoughts of whether Johannes ‘initiates’ his youthful admirers with a night of passionate intrigue before he spurs them on. Florestan believes that sex with men does not count; and Eusebius believes - or believed, before he died - that it was in some way, worse, in the eyes of God.

Eusebius cared more about what God thought. I am not sure either way, just that it is not possible to judge one man and not judge oneself by the same standard, therefore, once again… there is no difference between Johannes bedding his young piano playing protégé before he goes on to a lifetime career of enslavement to a woman’s childbearing moods and escape into beer gardens; and Florestan escaping to an asylum where young desperate neurotics bed him when they stumble across him. Does it matter whose idea it is first? Not in the least. That is my perspective; and I am just waiting for Florestan to act consistently. But Florestan’s defense is that he can do as he likes, it was not he who chose the life of a cuckold, he left that to Eusebius, his long years of stubborn longing for a single unattainable perfection, which was NOT, I might add, in the wife chosen but in some ethereal image that lay somehow beyond her, and of which she was a miserable echo. Perhaps the echo of Dorothea, my female soul, the unattained and unattainable.

And so, in this fit of conscience wrestling bodily with passion I let out a cry of heartfelt mourning and fell upon my bed, thrashing. Sophie would have none of it and went directly to Herr Dr. B, who entered the room saying “I feared this” and with his fingers pulled up my eyelids. “What is it now?”

I pointed, dramatically. “The rain - it is too loud! The sound is gonging in my ears! I must have silence!!” I began to shriek ineffectively. Herr Dr. B was very susceptible to bad acting. I thrashed a bit more, and almost the moment Johannes gained the threshold he was held back by Herr Dr. B, my salvation.

I had learned from one of the younger and more bizarre neurotics that doctors become intensely alarmed if you go rigid all over and stay that way, that is some new diagnosis of hysteria that shows that you are not merely overwrought, you are in actual DANGER of imminent suicide or catatonia. So I tried as hard as I might to be both limp and rigid so as to alarm him as completely as possible to the possibility of my imminent suicide, and it worked. In round tones of psychological authority Herr Dr. B faced down my enemy and his tag-along boyfriend, probably a pianist, probably to try to play for me again and see if he can cajole me into moving my hands so as to demonstrate one of those stupid triplets - WHAT IS THE POINT JOHANNES

and the disgusted, arrogant reply from beyond my threshold as the Great One is turned away by the Diminished One’s guardian. And at length, his retreat is obscured by the rain and he fades from view. By Florestan’s groan of disappointment I know that I have won by proxy - the Dr. B. proxy. Perhaps I can create a larger success by convincing Dr. B that my visits with Johannes must be in the presence of himself. So as to better prevent him from mentioning the wretched Tiere in the form of woman whose hands even now are stroking the keys of my piano! Then he can have some care and consideration! Instead of this constant repetition of his own insistent questions, and his impatient claims upon my attention, his desire to gain my approval for his plans and his pianists. What does he want from me? Forgiveness? That! Florestan cries, will be very very long in coming. I will forgive Johannes in hell!

Hell may not have long to wait, for me….

but the price to pay is Great! and now Herr Dr. B. wants to have a look at these rigid things that are supposedly my limbs… and I run from him and cower behind the bed. “Herr S, you are not helping,” he says in a scornful voice. “I am too old to chase a man my own age around a room because he is shy of his body.”

“I am not shy of my body!” I object, but too slowly. The inexorable arm of Herr Dr. B. has reached out and hauled me in, I am too weak to resist him, and so I do not. And he makes me submit to poking, prodding and moving my limbs all around and palpating my chest and breathing and all sorts of meaningless things.

“Are you having fun?” I ask him as I lie down under his peculiar ministration, petulant, almost as petulant as Florestan at his nicest.

“Naturally” Herr Dr. B. said, peering intently into my ear. He placed a bit of cotton there, and said “hello… what is this?”

“Don’t shout!” Florestan cringed before I could stop him from reacting.

“It is bleeding. Your left ear is bleeding. Did you scratch yourself?”

I denied all. I would not inflict pain upon a part of my body already wracked with it! I may be insane, but I am not stupid.

He examined the other ear closely, but could see no other blood. Now, we are faced with the inevitable procedures of doing things to my ears, to find out what is to be found out. Which is to say, there is a trumpet in my ear that keeps blatting me awake at night, and its source is the testicles of my erstwhile colleague.

Couldn’t he just remove the extra trombones in the horn section, and then restore the third movement to its original score? I proffer my ear for him to remove the extra horns, but he misses them on the next pass. I am left listening to an ugly sound like the mooing of a hungry cow, tormenting me to quivers, and I retreat into the corner, punctuating my letter of the day with the bleating of the cow, Adagio.

the piano grew a horn and served me stew…

that petulant bovine has left for the evening and the asylum grows dark around me, where I stalk, alone, and cannot think, or write, or even hum a tune, because of the horns, the horns… I wish I had died before the fashion changed with orchestras.

22 August, 1855

Another visitor slipped through without so much as Erlaubnis from Herr Dr. B., and no one stopped him from intruding into my world. A slim slip of a man, who moved like a cat, from shadow to shadow. I took note of him gradually, as I sat in my place, staring intently at the grey spot upon the wall. “Are you an apparition?”

“A sort of an apparition,” he nodded. “Though I am quite real. I am the Count.”

“The count? Is that like a prince?”

“Like a prince, but without the duties of a prince, and with more money,” he responded brightly.

“Why do you come to me? I’m not writing any more symphonies, and I don’t write opera any longer either. So tell that to your prince.”

“No, that is fine. You are in an asylum now I see. Did you get the asylum you sought?”

I sat up then, overwhelmed with curiosity at his flippant irreverence, and yet he was friendly enough. “Wait - I know you.”

“You do.”

“Yes - you are from Hohenheim. You are that nobleman from Hohenheim!”

“The same.”

“Theophrastus Bombastus!” I reached out my hand and pumped his heartily. “The comic entertainment of an entire evening. I should never have forgotten you! How did you find me?”

The Count held up a small pen. “I keep many things. One of them is the memory of a conversation on that night we met, in which I suggested to you that if you could no longer bear the weight of a woman’s scorn, there was a comfortable outlet in the asylum at Endenich. I see you found it, a friend of mine is the Direktor here.

“Not Herr Dr. B.?” The Count smiled a long, slow smile which confirmed my idiotic question.

“I cannot tell you all I know, or you would have more than mushrooms growing in your ears.”

“Not mushrooms!” I declared. “Horns!”

“I was sure he said mushrooms.”

“How did you know that I was bearing a woman’s scorn?” He gestured slightly, eloquently.

“Is it not obvious from the state of your soul? You had poured all that was of light and love into the object of your desire, and she took that light and in turn made a sacrifice of it to the passion for another.”

The force of his truth was so compelling that I cried out in affirmation of it!

“However, there are some things which are no longer changeable, Herr Eusebius.”

“I am not Herr Eusebius.”

“Of course you are. You pretend you are deceased, and that your underlying mind, this outrageous Florestan, is somehow your replacement, while you feign to die. I am not so easily fooled, Herr Eusebius.”

I squinted at him closely across the bed. “So this act would not work with you.”

“No - however there is no need to convince Herr Dr. B that it is indeed an act, for the blood oozing from your brain into your ear is quite real, though it causes no symptoms of madness. And it creates a most spectacular percussion as it seeps into your eardrum. I am not sure I can repair that.”


“There are a few things wrong, all of them physical, and none of them mental. The only mental problem is that the brain problem you suffer is being made worse by the lack of breath from consumption, so you are in a more or less constant state of slight hallucination and fever.”

I nodded again. The logic of the man was inescapable. “So what do I do?”

“What to do. If you are going to thrash about do so safely and not by hitting your head on the wall. Prepare your family for your decease.”

“Can I not be saved?”

“Do you wish to be saved?”

He had me there. No, I did not wish to be saved. “No I suppose not. There are some things I wish would be preserved though. I wish for the music to survive. There was so much I did not do. And I wish for Johannes - Herr Professor B. - I wish for him to do well. And I wish for my children not to starve or suffer from my death, or grow up believing that I abandoned them willfully. But for the woman, I desire nothing. Nothing at all!”

The Count seemed to take all of this news as if it were an order for dinner in a hotel. “This, this is all possible. How long do you believe you can endure while we arrange for your demise?”

“I don’t know. I went eighty days without so much as an hour of sleep. I have a strong constitution. How long must I wait?”

“Perhaps three years, I may be able to get it to two. Most orders of this specificity must be made in advance. Usually a year for every revision of your life. And you must not tell Herr Dr. B that I have agreed to help you die. Do you understand? No gleeful gloating about how you may yet cheat the Reaper. Do you understand? I too have enemies, Herr S.”

I nodded once again, feeling co-conspiratorial.

“I will return to you in one year. I expect you to have endured well. I will hope that you will keep notes of the journey because you will need them upon your return.”

“Return, what return?”

“Your return here. Your future existence,” he intoned. At this, the shadows swallowed his form and I was alone again with the now-diminished bleating of a cow, or the long slow blaaat of a bassoon. Did I dream him? How must I keep a record? An idea came to me - what if I were to write him a letter each day, and then, because he is not to be known or known about, I could burn it! That might provide a record for the life hereafter. And so this, I resolved to do.

•   •   •   •


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