Recycling Part II
“This little theater of mine has as many doors into as many boxes as you please, ten or a hundred thousand, and behind each door exactly what you seek awaits you. It is a pretty cabinet of pictures, my dear friend; but it would be quite useless to go through it as you are. You would be checked and blinded by it at every turn by what you are pleased to call your personality. You have no doubt guessed long since that the conquest of time and the escape from reality, or however else it may be that you choose to describe your longing, means simply the wish to be relieved of your so-called personality. That is the prison where you lie.”
TONIGHT AT THE MAGIC THEATER FOR MADMEN ONLY PRICE OF ADMITTANCE YOUR MIND. NOT FOR EVERYBODY. HERMINE IS IN HELL.
"Now on my winged feet I nimbly one-stepped through
every room on the way to hell."
Past Pablo we danced, who hung like a lover over his softly wailing instrument.
"The red mouth beneath the mask met mine and with the kiss I recognized Maria. I caught her tight in my arms and like a June rose bloomed her full lips"
"...autumn, it was fate, that had given the summer rose so full and ripe a scent."
"The very air had a charm. The warmth embedded me and wafted me on, and so no less did the riotous music, the intoxication of colors, the perfume of women's" shoulders, the clamor of the hundred tongues, the laughter, the rhythm of the dance, and the glances of all the kindled eyes"
There, on pitch-black walls shone wicked garish lights, and the orchestra of devils was playing feverishly. The handsome youth on the high stool glanced mockingly at me. It had a familiar charm, like a picture from long ago, precious for the very dust that has settled on it from the past.
Oh, then it flashed through me. It was Herman, the friend of my youth.
"Herman!" I stammered.
She smiled. "Harry? Have you found me?"
It was Hermine
"Is this the costume, Hermine, in which you mean to make me fall in love with you?"
"So far," she said, "I have contented myself with turning the heads of the ladies. But now yourturn has come. First, let's have a glass of champagne."
"So we did, perched on our stools, while the dance went on around us to the lively and fevered strain of the strings. And without Hermine appearing to give herself the least trouble I was very soon in love with her. How well and thoroughly I thought I knew Hermine, and yet what a completely new revelation of herself she opened up to me that night!".
"And then of a sudden I saw, half coming to my senses for a moment, among the last who still kept it up in one of the smaller rooms, and filled it to overflowing—the only one in which the music still sounded—of a sudden I saw a black Pierrette with face painted white. She was fresh and charming, the only masked figure left and a bewitching apparition that I had never in the whole course of the night seen before".
"I bent down to kiss her mouth as we danced. Its smilewas triumphant and long familiar. Of a sudden I recognized the firm chin, the shoulders, armsand hands. It was Hermine, Herman no longer".
"But all at once the mood passed, banished by a look from Hermine. At this look that seemed to come from my own soul all reality fell away.
"You're ready?" asked Hermine"
"Only within yourself exists that other reality for which you long. I can give you nothing that has not already its being within yourself. I can throw open to you no picture gallery but your own soul. All I can give you is the opportunity, the impulse, the key. I can help you to make your own world visible. That is all."
"He took Hermine who at once shrank in his fingers to the dimensions of a toy figure and put
her in the very same waistcoat pocket from which he had taken the cigarette. Its sweet and heavy smoke diffused a pleasant aroma. I felt hollow, exhausted, and ready to sleep for a whole year.
I understood it all. I understood Pablo. I understood Mozart, and somewhere behind me I
heard his ghastly laughter. I knew that all the hundred thousand pieces of life's game were in my
pocket. A glimpse of its meaning had stirred my reason and I was determined to begin the game
afresh. I would sample its tortures once more and shudder again at its senselessness. I would
traverse not once more, but often, the hell of my inner being.
One day I would be a better hand at the game."
TONIGHT AT THE MAGIC THEATER