Segunda-feira, 10 de Dezembro de 2007

Datas perdidas

Há cem anos, no dia 10 de Dezembro de 1907, Rudyard Kipling escreveu duas cartas, ou uma carta em duas partes, aos filhos: uma antes e outra depois da cerimónia de entrega do Prémio Nobel. Transcreve-se em seguida, com a devida vénia, a segunda dessas cartas.

Esta secção «Datas Perdidas» está aberta a todos os leitores que se dispuserem a colaborar.     



Grand Hotel,
Dec 10th 1907

5 p.m. (Still Tuesday: still darker)

Dear People -

I continue my letter from where I stopped it at 3.25 p.m. Well, at that hour came the bridal carriage — Cinderella's glass coach I am going to call it — and Mummy and I and two professors piled in and drove through the dark shiny wet streets where all the lamps were reflected on watery pavements and harbours and canals - so that moving steamers' lights were mixed up with shop lights. Everyone in the streets seemed to be in black and the shops were full of black dresses. We stopped opposite the door of a place that looked like a theatre - with iron inner doors and stone staircases. It was the school of the Academy of Music. We went up stairs, after I had left my had, coat and go-loshes with a door-keeper and came into a room ... It was all bare and white with semi-circles of chairs whose seats tilted up with a spring when you weren't sitting on 'em. Behind the platform about eight feet up were three white plaster busts of three great scientific men. (That is why I can't understand their calling the place the Music-room. Perhaps it was the science lecture room after all.) Only the professors of the Swedish Academy were there - not fifty all told. The galleries were empty. Most of the chairs were empty and there was a general feeling of emptiness all about. You see on account of King Oscar's death all the big public functions were stopped and all the professors were in deep mourning. The four Nobel prize winners sat in four chairs thus: —

Professor Nicholson


Chicago who

had found

out things about light



a German

who had done something scientific



of the Swedish


A French doctor who had

found out things about fever & sleeping











I felt rather like a bad boy up to be caned. Different professors got up, went to the reading desk on the platform and talked to each man in his own lingo. The American got it in English: the German in German: the Frenchman in French: and me in English. It is an awful thing to sit still and look down your nose while a gentleman who talks English with difficulty pays you long compliments. As each oration was finished the victim got up from his chair, the schoolmaster (I mean the Speaker) came down from the platform and shook hands with him. At the same moment a tall young man with a leather rosette in his buttonhole presented the victim with his diploma and gold medal. You have no notion how difficult it is to shake hands gracefully when one arm is full of a large smooth leather book on top of which is a slippery slidy red leather box - like a huge Tiffany jewel case. Try, with a blotter and the case of my silver key and see what happens. I felt like this:—

[omitido o desenho de RK rodeado por mãos]

playing a 15-30 puzzle! The air seemed full of friendly hands all rushing to clasp mine! I had made a bet with myself that Mummy should be the first person to look at the diploma and play with the medal. So I took them both over to her. The diploma is a beautiful hand-painted book. The medal weighs about half a pound. It is pure gold and represents poetry listening to the voice of music! Never you dare to say I can't sing again. I thought it was a picture of Mowgli listening to a woman playing on a lyre. He has nothing on to boast of but he is sitting on a bath-towel and saying:- "Now where is the rest of my week's wash. I have it all written out." Seriously it is one of the most lovely pieces of work which I have ever seen.

[omitido o desenho da medalha]

That was all the ceremony. It took less than an hour and then we went into another room to get our money. I liked the American professor awfully! He was younger than I but the rest were pretty average old. Then we climbed into Cinderella's coach again and came back to our hotel. That is the full account of all just as it happened. Everybody kept assuring me that if the King had not died the ceremonies would have been four or five hours long and there would have been banquets! I don't want banquets. However a few professors are giving Mummy and me a quiet dinner in this hotel to-night and we dine out to-morrow night with the Secretary of the Academy. He has a white porcelain stove in his house, eight feet high. I saw it when I went to call this morning. After that, on Thursday night unberufen - unberufen - unberufen - we come home - home - home!

The only thing I don't like about this part of the world is the dark. The sun begins here at 9 and stops at 2.30 and as we have had heavy grey skies, rain, mist, and snow ever since we started, you can faintly guess how dark the days are ... Swedish grub is interesting but pickleish. They pickle pretty much everything they catch before it goes bad. And they catch a lot of things. They have eels in jelly and pickled herring and lobster and crabs and raw ham and dried raw salmon - none of which will our Lady Mother let me eat. Isn't it a shame? To-morrow we hope to steal out and do some shoppings together.

Ever your loving

publicado por annualia às 16:09
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