Sunday, December 2, 2018

from "Quiet Days In Clichy" by Henry Miller

Quiet Days In Clichy:
Henry Miller

Of life and living ...

A good meal, a good talk, a good fuck--what better way to pass the day? There were no worms devouring her conscience, no cares which she couldn't  throw off. Floating with the tide, nothing more. She would produce no children, contribute nothing to the welfare of the community, leave no mark upon the world in going.
 But wherever she went she would make life easier, more, attractive, more fragrant. And that is no little thing. Every tune I left her I had the feeling of a day well spent. I wished that I too could take life in that same easy natural way.
 Sometimes I wished I were a female, like her, possessing nothing more than an attractive cunt. How wonderful to put one's cunt to work and use one's brains for pleasure! To fall in love with happiness! To become as useless as possible!

Now let's look at what Maxim Gorky wrote in his "My Universities" ... Yes it's that chapter where young Gorky met that learned drunkard and helped him to reach his house. That old  fellow told: ".... "You must understand that o one needs much to live on - a piece of bread and a woman..." ..."..."The world is ruled by love and hunger....People seek oblivion, comfort, but not knowledge ."  -Yes, you can say that these are the uttering of a decadent society, yes, I can agree even. But isn't it interesting that what Gorky found in Tsarists Russia the same is found by Miller, an American, in Paris, almost after half a decade? - Blog Admin


The Girl with a loaded gun, poems  and a serene cunt:

Shortly after we had made her acqaintance we met her one night walking by herself along the fortifications. It was a strange thing to be doing at that hour of the night, and not a little suspect. She returned our greeting as if in a trance. She seemed to remember our faces but had obviously forgotten where or when we had met. Nor did she seem to be interested in refreshing her memory. She accepted
our company as she would have accepted the company of anyone who happened along. She made no attempt at conversation; her talk was more like a monologue which we had interrupted. Carl, who was adept at such things, fed her along in his own schizophrenic way. Gradually, we steered her back to the house and up to our rooms--as if she were a sleep-walker. Never a question from her as to where we
were going, what we were doing. She walked in and sat down on the divan as if she were at home. She asked for some tea and a sandwich, in the same tone of voice that she might have used in addressing the garçon at a café. And in the same tone of voice she asked us how much we would give her for staying with us. In her matter-of-fact way she added that she needed two hundred francs for the rent,
which was due next day. Two hundred francs was probably a good deal, she remarked, but that was the sum she needed. She spoke like one reflecting on the condition of the larder. "Now let me see, you need eggs, butter, some bread and perhaps a little jam." Just like that. "If you want me to suck you off, or if
you want to do it dogfashion, whatever you like, it's all the same to me," she said, sipping her tea like a duchess at a charity bazaar. "My breasts are still firm and enticing," she continued, undoing her blouse and extracting a handful. "I know men who would pay a thousand francs to sleep with me, but I can't be
bothered hunting them up. I must have two hundred francs, no more, no less."

She paused a minute to glance at a book on the table at her elbow, then continued in the same toneless voice: "I have some poems, too, which I will show you later. They may be better than those," referring to the volume she had just glanced at.

At this juncture Carl, who was standing in the doorway, began signalling me in deaf and dumb  fashion, to let me know she was crazy.

The girl, who had been rummaging in her bag to extract her poems, suddenly looked up and, catching the embarrassed look on Carl's face, remarked calmly and soberly that he was out of his mind.
"Is there a bidet in the bathroom" she asked in the same breath. "I have one poem which I will read to you in a moment; it is about a dream I had the other night." So saying, she stood up and slowly took off her blouse and skirt. "Tell your friend to get himself ready," she said, undoing her hair. "I will sleep with him first."

At this Carl gave a start. He was getting more and more frightened of her, and at the same time he was convulsed with suppressed laughter.
"Wait a minute," he said, "have a little wine before you wash. It will do you good." He quickly brought out a bottle and poured her a glass. She quaffed it as if she were quenching her thirst with a glass of water. "Take off my shoes and stockings," she said, leaning back against the wall and holding out her glass for more. "Ce vin est une saloperie," she added in her monotonous tone, "but I am used to it.
You" have the two hundred francs, I suppose? I must have exactly that amount. Not one hundred and seventy-five or one hundred and eighty. Give me your hand..." She took Carl's hand, which had been fumbling with her garter, and placed it on her quim. "There are fools who have offered as much as five thousand to touch that.  Men are stupid. I let you touch it for nothing. Here, give me another glassful. It tastes less vile when you drink a lot of it. What time is it?"

As soon as she had closeted herself in the bathroom Carl let loose. He laughed like a madman. Frightened, that's what he was. "I'm not going to do it," he said. "She might bite my prick off.
Let's get her out of here. I'll give her fifty francs and put her in a taxi."
 "I don't think she'll let you do that," said I, enjoying his discomfiture. "She means business.
 Besides, if she's really goofy she may forget all about the money."
 "That's an idea, Joey," he exclaimed enthusiastically.
 "I never thought of that. You have a criminal mind. But listen, don't leave me in there alone with her, will you? You can watch us--she doesn't give a damn. She'd fuck a dog, if we asked her to. She's a somnambulist."

I got into my pyjamas and tucked myself in bed. She remained a long time in the bathroom.  We were beginning to worry.
 "Better go and see what's up," I said.
 "You go," he said. "I'm afraid of her."
 I got up and knocked at the bathroom door.
 "Come in," she said, in the same dull, toneless voice.

I opened the door and found her stark naked, her back turned to me. With her lipstick she was writing a poem on the wall. I went back to summon Carl. "She must be out of her mind," I said. "She's smearing the walls with her poems."
 While Carl was reading her verse aloud I got a really clever idea. She wanted two hundred francs. Good. I had no money on me, but I suspected that Carl had--he had only been paid the day before. I knew if I looked in the volume marked Faust, in his room, I would find two or three hundred franc bills flattened between the leaves. Carl was ignorant of the fact that I had discovered his secret vault. I had come upon it by accident one day when searching for a dictionary.

I knew that he continued to keep a little sum hidden away in this volume of Faust, because I  went back several times later to verify the fact. I let him starve with me for almost two days once, knowing all the time that the money was there. I was extremely curious to see how long he could hold out on me.
 My mind now began working rapidly. I would navigate the two of them into my room, extract the money from the vault, hand it to her, and, upon her next trip to the bathroom, I would take the money out of her bag and put it back in Goethe's Faust. I would let Carl give her the fifty francs he had been talking about; that would pay for the taxi. She wouldn't look for the two hundred francs until the
morning; if she were really crazy she wouldn't miss the money, and if she weren't crazy she would probably tell herself she had lost the money in the taxi. In any case she would leave the house as she had entered it--in a trance. She would never stop to note the address on her way out, that I felt certain of.

The plan worked out admirably, except that we had to give her a fuck before bundling her off. It all happened quite unexpectedly. I had given her the two hundred francs, to Carl's amazement, and I had persuaded him to fork out the fifty francs for a taxi. She was busy the while writing another poem, in pencil, on a scrap of paper which she had torn from a book. I was sitting on the divan and she was standing in front of me stark naked, her ass staring me in the face. I thought I would see if she'd continue writing should I put a finger up her crack. I did it very gently, as if exploring the delicate petals of a rose. She kept on scribbling, without the least murmur of approval or disapproval, merely opening her legs a little more for my convenience.
 In an instant I had a tremendous erection.
 I got up and shoved my prick inside her.
 She sprawled forward over the desk, the pencil still in her hand. "Bring her over here," said Carl, who was in bed and squirming about like an eel now. I turned her around, got it in frontwise and, lifting her off her feet, I dragged her over to the bed. Carl pounced on her immediately, grunting like a wild boar. I let him have his fill, and then I let her have it again, from the rear. When it was over she asked for
some wine, and while I was filling the glass she began to laugh. It was a weird laugh, like nothing I had ever heard before. Suddenly she stopped, asked for paper and pencil, then a pad with which to support the paper. She sat up, put her feet over the edge of the bed, and began composing another poem.
When she had written two or three lines she asked for her revolver.
 "Revolver?" shrieked Carl, springing out of bed like a rabbit. "What revolver?"
"The one in my bag," she calmly replied. "I feel like shooting someone now. You have had a good time for your two hundred francs--now it is my turn." With this she made a leap for the bag. We pounced on her and threw her to the floor. She bit and scratched and kicked with all her strength.

"See if there's a gun in the bag," said Carl, pinning her down. I jumped up, grabbed the bag, and saw that there was no gun in it; at the same time I extracted the two bills and hid them under the paper weight on the desk.
 "Throw some water on her, quick" said Carl.
 "I think she's going to have a fit."
 I rushed to the sink, filled a pitcher full of water and threw it over her. She gasped, wiggled a bit, like a fish out of water, sat up, and with a weird smile, said: "اa y est, c'est bien assez... laissez-moisortir."

Good, I thought to myself, at last we're rid of her. To Carl: "Watch her close, I'll get her things.
Well have to dress her up and put her in a cab."
 We dried her off and dressed her as best we could. I had an uneasy feeling that she would start something again, before we could get her out of the place. And what if she should start yelling in the street, just for the devil of it?
 We dressed in turn, rapidly, watching her like a hawk. Just as we were ready to go she thought of the scrap of paper she had left on the desk-- the unfinished poem. In groping about for it her eyes fell on the bills tucked under the paper weight.
 "My money! " she yelled.
 "Don't be silly," I said calmly, holding her by the arm.. "You don't think we would rob you, do you? You've got your money in your bag."
 She gave me a quick, penetrating glance and dropped her eyes. "Je vous demande pardon," she said. "Je suis très nerveuse ce soir."  (I am very nervy tonight)
 "You said it," said Carl, hustling her to the door. "That was clever of you, Joey," he said in English, as we went down the stairs.
 "Where do you live," asked Carl, when we had hailed a taxi.
 "Nowhere," she replied. "I'm tired. Tell him to drop me off at an hotel, any hotel."
 Carl seemed touched. "Do you want us to go along with you?" he asked.
 "No," she said. "I want to sleep."
 "Come on," I said, pulling him away. "She'll be all right."
I slammed the door and waved good night.
 Carl stood looking at the receding taxi in a dazed way.
 "What's the matter with you? You're not worried about her, are you? If she's crazy she won't need money, nor a hotel either."
 "I know, but just the same... Listen, Joey, you're a hard-hearted son of a bitch. And the money! Jesus, we fucked her good and proper."
 "Yes," I said, "it was lucky I knew where you kept your dough."
 "You mean that was my money?" he said, suddenly realising what I meant.
 "Yes, Joey, the eternal feminine always draws us on. A great poem, Faust."
 At this he went over to the wall, leaned against it, then doubled over with hysterical laughter.
 "I thought I was the quick-witted one," he said, "but I'm only a novice. Listen, tomorrow we'll spend that money. We'll have a good feed somewhere.
 I'll take you to a real restaurant for a change."
 "By the way," I remarked, "was her poetry any good? I didn't have a chance to study it. I mean those verses in the bathroom."
 "There was one good line," he said. "The rest was lunatical."

"Lunatical? There's no such word in English."

"Well, that's what it was. Crazy wouldn't describe it. You'll have to coin a new word for it.
 Lunatical. I like that word. I'm going to use it... And now I'm going to tell you something, Joey.
You remember the revolver?"
 "What revolver? There was no revolver."
 "Yes, there was," he replied, giving me a queer smile. "I hid it in the bread box."
 "So you went through her bag first, is that it?"
 "I was just looking for a little change," he said, hanging his head, as though he felt sheepish about it.
 "I don't believe that," I said. "There must have been some other reason."
 "You're pretty bright, Joey," he retorted gaily, "but you miss a thing or two now and then. Do you remember when she squatted down to make pee pee--up at the ramparts? She had given me her bag to hold. I felt something hard inside, something like a gun. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to frighten you. But when you started walking back to the house I got scared.
When she went to the bathroom I opened the bag and found the gun. It was loaded.
 Here are the bullets, if you don't believe me..."
 I looked at them in complete stupefaction. A cold chill ran up and down my spine.
 "She must have been really crazy," I said, heaving a sigh of relief.
 "No," said Carl, "she's not crazy at all. She's playing at it. And her poems aren't crazy either --they're lunatical. She may have been hypnotised.

Somebody may have put her to sleep, put the gun in her hand, and told her to bring back two hundred francs."
 "That's really crazy! " I exclaimed.
 He made no answer. He walked along with head down, silent for a few minutes. "What puzzles me," he said, looking up, "is this--why did she forget about the revolver so quickly?  And why didn't she look in her bag for the money when you lied to her? I think she knew that  the revolver was gone, and the money too.
 I think she was frightened of us. And now I'm getting frightened again myself. I think we'd better take an hotel for the night. Tomorrow you take a little trip somewhere... stay away a few days."
 We turned without another word and started walking rapidly towards Montmartre. We were panic-stricken...

This little incident precipitated our flight to Luxembourg.