Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Biographical > Tropic Of Cancer > Part 10 Chapter 4
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
Part 10 Chapter 4

And so we started out into the night, down towards the waterfront where there was the sound of music and shouts and drunken oaths, Collins talking quietly all the while about this and that, about a boy he had fallen in love with, and the devil's time he had to get out of the scrape when the parents got wise to it. From that he switched back to the Baron de Charlus and then to Kurtz who had gone up the river and got lost. His favorite theme. I liked the way Collins moved against this background of literature continuously; it was like a millionaire who never stepped out of his Rolls Royce. There was no intermediate realm for him between reality and ideas. When we entered the whorehouse on the Quai Voltaire, after he had flung himself on the divan and rung for girls and for drinks, he was still paddling up the river with Kurtz, and only when the girls had flopped on the bed beside him and stuffed his mouth with kisses did he cease his divagations. Then, as if he had suddenly realized where he was, he turned to the old mother who ran the place and gave her an eloquent spiel about his two friends who had come down from Paris expressly to see the joint. There were about half a dozen girls in the room, all naked and all beautiful to look at, I must say. They hopped about like birds while the three of us tried to maintain a conversation with the grandmother. Finally the latter excused herself and told us to make ourselves at home. I was altogether taken in by her, so sweet and amiable she was, so thoroughly gentle and maternal. And what manners! If she had been a little younger I would have made overtures to her. Certainly you would not have thought that we were in a "den of vice," as it is called.

Anyway we stayed there an hour or so, and as I was the only one in condition to enjoy the privileges of the house, Collins and Fillmore remained downstairs chattering with the girls.

When I returned I found the two of them stretched out on the bed; the girls had formed a semicircle about the bed and were singing with the most angelic voices the chorus of Roses in Picardy. We were sentimentally depressed when we left the house – Fillmore particularly. Collins swiftly steered us to a rough joint which was packed with drunken sailors on shore leave and there we sat awhile enjoying the homosexual rout that was in full swing. When we sallied out we had to pass through the red light district where there were more grandmothers with shawls about their necks sitting on the doorsteps fanning themselves and nodding pleasantly to the passers by. All such good-looking, kindly souls, as if they were keeping guard over a nursery. Little groups of sailors came swinging along and pushed their way noisily inside the gaudy joints. Sex everywhere: it was slopping over, a neap tide that swept the props from under the city. We piddled along at the edge of the basin where everything was jumbled and tangled; you had the impression that all these ships, these trawlers and yachts and schooners and barges, had been blown ashore by a violent storm.

In the space of forty eight hours so many things had happened that it seemed as if we had been in Le Havre a month or more. We were planning to leave early Monday morning, as Fillmore had to be back on the job. We spent Sunday drinking and carousing, clap or no clap. That afternoon Collins confided to us that he was thinking of returning to his ranch in Idaho; he hadn't been home for eight years and he wanted to have a look at the mountains again before making another voyage East. We were sitting in a whorehouse at the time, waiting for a girl to appear; he had promised to slip her some cocaine. He was fed up with Le Havre, he told us. Too many vultures hanging around his neck. Besides, Jimmie's wife had fallen in love with him and she was making things hot for him with her jealous fits. There was a scene almost every night. She had been on her good behaviour since we arrived, but it wouldn't last, he promised us. She was particularly jealous of a Russian girl who came to the bar now and then when she got tight. A troublemaker. On top of it all he was desperately in love with this boy whom he had told us about the first day. "A boy can break your heart," he said. "He's so damned beautiful! And so cruel!" We had to laugh at this. It sounded preposterous. But Collins was in earnest.

Around midnight Sunday Fillmore and I retired; we had been given a room upstairs over the bar. It was sultry as the devil, not a breath of air stirring. Through the open windows we could hear them shouting downstairs and the gramophone going continually. All of a sudden a storm broke – a regular cloudburst. And between the thunderclaps and the squalls that lashed the windowpanes there came to ............

Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved