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Anne Juliana Gonzaga became a Servant of Mary following the death of her husband, Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria in 1595, after receiving a vision of the Madonna, to whom her parents had prayed to cure her of a childhood illness? Many years later, early in my career in Washington while I was still young and unencumbered, Peter Ashman proposed that we take the last great passenger train in America, Southern Railwaya€™s Southern Crescent, all the way to New Orleans for a long jazzy weekend of eating, drinking and wenching in the French Quarter. But on the 27th of last month Susan and I flew to London and took the Chunnel train (the Eurostar) to Paris, where we stayed overnight at a Left Bank hotel; and on Friday the 29th, at the Gare de la€™Est, we boarded the Orient Express for Constantinople a€” arriving there on September 3rd a€” over a period of six days with three nights on the train and two more in hotels in Buda-Pest and Bucharest. Soon after nine oa€™clock on the morning of the day on which the police received his note, he left his hotel for the Gare de la€™Est and the Orient Express.
I must start with the Orient Expressa€™s reputation for intrigue, for my still-present if recently dormant counter-intelligence antennae were reactivated by something even before boarding the train. The great trains are going out all over Europe, one by one, but still the Orient Express thunders superbly over 1400 miles of glittering steel track between Paris and Istanbul.
The Passengers: about one hundred, and while I may miss a nationality or two, I noticed American, British, Canadian, Australian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, and even a Korean couple.
Also aboard was the current president of the Orient Express Company, a French-man, and his wife. The Route: Paris a€” Strasbourg a€” Baden-Baden a€” Munich a€” Salzburg a€” Vienna a€” Buda-Pest a€” Sinaia a€” Bucharest a€” Varna a€” Constantinople, for a total of 3,469 kilometers (2,155 and a half miles, a good deal more than James Bonda€™s 1400) through seven countries. Marco had made up our sleeping berths while we were at dinner, the lamp on the folding table beneath the window shining upon the compartmenta€™s polished wood and brass. One is to say that Susan and I got quite used to be met and sent off at each station by a brass band, beginning with the traina€™s arrival in Buda-Pest a€” nor did it seem more than right for us to use, Orient Express passengers only sa€™il vouz plaA®t, the stationa€™s special entrance and sumptuous waiting-lounge built a hundred and fifty years ago for Emperor Franz Josef. The folkways grew still stranger as we moved eastward, perhaps never more so than when leaving Bucharest, where we were seen off by not only a band, but by folk dancers, including a dancing bear, a dancing troll, and what I can only think must have been a dancing werewolf. This was my fourth visit to Buda-Pest, whose uprising against the Soviet puppet regime in 1956, crushed by the Red Army and secret police, was the event that launched me at age ten on my education in international relations and my career. Not only does the prospect of the food allure us, but the fact that we shall be devouring it in a fantastic chariot of steel and glass, hurtling through a foreign country. While we had a dinner and a lunch in Buda-Pest and a dinner in Bucharest, we had three dinners and four lunches aboard the Orient Express, along with continental breakfast served in our compartment each morning we were on the train. The experience reminded me of something I once read about the cooking aboard the 20th Century Limited in the 1930s and a€™40s, that each passenger on the runs between Chicago and New York, with just one dinner and a breakfast, consumed a pound of butter.
Bucharesta€™s traffic is terrible, but in Roumaniaa€™s countryside horse-drawn wagons are common, and speckled bands of gypsy encampments could be seen from the train as we traveled.
Nonetheless, Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, Draculaa€™s fifteenth-century original, is a national hero, she said, because he fought the Turks. I thought of the Undead again the next day as we entered Bulgaria and headed for the port of Varna, for it was to the a€?pearl of the Black Seaa€? that Dracula, aboard the ship Czarina Catherine, fled from the brave party vowed to destroy him. A taste of the casbah, a whiff of Asia, a pause at the cross-roads of two continents, is surely the promise which has brought so many travelers on the long and tedious railway journey from Paris.
Southern Roumania, eastern Bulgaria and Thracian Turkey resemble Americaa€™s badlands, with towns full of old crumbling houses a€” so much so that I was unprepared for Constantinople, a fascinating city, the stuff of dreams in a gorgeous setting of green hills rising above the deep-blue Sea of Marmara, Golden Horn, and Bosphorus. I am not one hundred percent sure I found the precise chamber in question when we visited Topkapi Palace, for there were more than a few candidates. I also report with some pride and a little surprise at the accomplishment that we did not buy any rugs. No one likes to leave Venice in a hurry but the Orient Express departs at 19.28, and the cocktails we downed in Harrya€™s Bar an hour or so earlier are proving just the thing to make locating the right platform that bit more exciting. An hour or two later, during the final lunch aboard the Orient Express, he entered our dining-car with two Twentieth Centurys on a silver tray, and served them to Susan and me with his compliments. Yet once again an east wind is being felt by central and eastern Europeans along the storied route. A A A  Many years later, early in my career in Washington while I was still young and unencumbered, Peter Ashman proposed that we take the last great passenger train in America, Southern Railwaya€™s Southern Crescent, all the way to New Orleans for a long jazzy weekend of eating, drinking and wenching in the French Quarter. A A A  The Passengers: about one hundred, and while I may miss a nationality or two, I noticed American, British, Canadian, Australian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, and even a Korean couple.
A A A  Also aboard was the current president of the Orient Express Company, a French-man, and his wife.
A A A  The Route: Paris a€” Strasbourg a€” Baden-Baden a€” Munich a€” Salzburg a€” Vienna a€” Buda-Pest a€” Sinaia a€” Bucharest a€” Varna a€” Constantinople, for a total of 3,469 kilometers (2,155 and a half miles, a good deal more than James Bonda€™s 1400) through seven countries. We dined that night in the second dining-car, CA?te da€™Azur, gleaming ebony wood with striking Lalique glass panels lit softly by the Orient Expressa€™s trademark rose-shaded lamps on the tables. A A A  The folkways grew still stranger as we moved eastward, perhaps never more so than when leaving Bucharest, where we were seen off by not only a band, but by folk dancers, including a dancing bear, a dancing troll, and what I can only think must have been a dancing werewolf. A A A  The experience reminded me of something I once read about the cooking aboard the 20th Century Limited in the 1930s and a€™40s, that each passenger on the runs between Chicago and New York, with just one dinner and a breakfast, consumed a pound of butter. We entered Transylvania in darkness, close (but not too close) to Borgo Pass, and stopped in its legendary Roumanian mountains at a town called Sinaia to visit Peles Castle, the summer residence of King Carol I. A A A  Bucharesta€™s traffic is terrible, but in Roumaniaa€™s countryside horse-drawn wagons are common, and speckled bands of gypsy encampments could be seen from the train as we traveled. A A A  Nonetheless, Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, Draculaa€™s fifteenth-century original, is a national hero, she said, because he fought the Turks.
The Orient Expressa€™s club car has an able bartender, Attilio, but like so many bars it lacked the blonde Lillet to make my favorite cocktail, the Twen-tieth Century, named after the American train I mentioned before. A A A  An hour or two later, during the final lunch aboard the Orient Express, he entered our dining-car with two Twentieth Centurys on a silver tray, and served them to Susan and me with his compliments. A A A  Yet once again an east wind is being felt by central and eastern Europeans along the storied route. A A A  And in Bulgaria, we were taken at the end of our afternoon in Varna to its Eastern Orthodox cathedral.
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Diane Thodos is an artist and art critic and was a student of Donald Kuspit at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1987 to 1992. DK: I think ita€™s over for a lot of those people and one of the things I see happening is a return to tradition in a variety of ways (without mimicking it). DT: Regarding the postmodern problem I remember you once raised the question in class about why is it artists dona€™t allow themselves to go back to being influenced by a tradition. DT: And at this point when you think of the incredible diversity that occurred (I remember you talking about the a€?Big Banga€? of Modernist creativity at the beginning of the last century around 1905 a€“ 24) we still have these rich aesthetic Modernist traditions that have barely scratched the surface of their possibilities in a sense.
DK: They probably do have emotions in their lives a€“ I dona€™t see how they couldna€™t a€“ but they split it off and deal with a€?official a€? issues of art. DT: You have often written about the exclusion of experiential depth in the great morass of conceptual art that dominates todaya€™s art world. DK: Well, as you know certain groups a€“ for example October most notoriously - have attacked humanism quite explicitly. DT: Yes - referring to the title of the book written by Jacques Ellul The Technological Society. DT: Yes - they are playing video games all the time, they are on the cell phone all the time, or constantly texting. DT: Like what Picabia was talking about when he had his Orphic ideas in painting and then transformed them into the Dadaist idea of the machine?
DK: Most subtle, and the most complicated organ apparently ever created by nature from what I have read. I feel this writing reflects a historical a€?revisiona€? of Muncha€™s work that intends to desublimate the power of his work by making him into an everyday huckster. DT: This brings me to the question a€“ do we have historical revisionism today thata€™s working as a means of not merely avoiding the presence of emotion in art, but being destructive of the importance of emotional sublimation in art?
DK: What I would say has happened is the avant-garde a€“ avant gardism - has become institutionalized. DT: He was part of the Modernist movement even though he was complicit in horrible atrocities. DT: In the Leni Riefenstahl film Triumph of the Will it is interesting how rigidly the soldiers march in tight box formations. DT: And that hea€™s a hustler, that we are all the same, and that this is an everyday kind of thing. DT: Do you see shades of George Orwella€™s book 1984 when the Whitney Museum claims there is great diversity in art when there is just the opposite.
DK: I am telling you he is getting the award this year - or why is Bruce Nauman in the Whitney Biennale? DT: Getting into a big subject here - on your suggestion I have read Jacques Ellula€™s book The Technological Society [first published in 1964] and was struck by his prophetic insight about the present.


DK: Not only do you get more and more efficient, is shuts out what you call the a€?dark areaa€? - it shuts out emotion, because emotion is inefficient.
DT: Ita€™s not like watching an Andre Tarkovsky film where you get this incredible Dostoyevskian poetic depth.
DK: Ita€™s very interesting to see this a€“ the sets, the clothing, the environments they create - this Americana scene. DK: When people talk about Americanization they are talking about standardization with a vengeance. DT: Do you feel, in reference to Jacque Ellula€™s book The Technological Society, that technique as an absolute standardization of means also relates to how artists have become these sort of glorified commercial producers of brand name products: in other words formatting the product to streamline the marketing system? DK: Yes a€“ but remember when there used to be the Soho Guggenheim that was at the corner of Prince Street and West Broadway?
DK: I dona€™t think they do this anymore, but the shoes are brought out every morning and exhibited like precious objects. DT: Is marketing as you see it a€“ the way this American Capitalist marketing system operates a€“ part of the efficiency of technique in a sense? DK: Unless you want to have success for five minutes after getting out of the program - ita€™s shorter than 15 minutes these days.
DT: Conceptualism wants to create ita€™s own self-fulfilling propaganda and have no dialectical relationship outside of that? DK: He just stuck with it and made this special amalgamation of expressionism and the figure a€“ but he had the strength of will to do that.
DT: So you need the strength of will to separate yourself from the things that do not give you the diversity of experience you need?
DK: And there is the argument that Harold Rosenberg made in relation to Arshile Gorky, that his apprenticeship was good a€“ Picasso to Miro a€“ and his work was quite different from theirs, derivative but an interesting derivation at that. DT: Getting back to the issue of exclusion and censorship I remember once you talked about a€“ and I think ita€™s absolutely true a€“ in the late 80a€™s how women were starting to enter the art world more and more but their work was very novelty oriented in the neo-conceptual art mode. DK: It has been a lucky experience that I have met women artists in their 60a€™s who have been working for years and who I think are making pretty profound art.
DT: That is a very important point because their schooling would have dated from a time when you could learn techniques.
DK: What these artists have is also a persistent curiosity about learning and are knowledgeable about many other things. DT: So ita€™s like the stream of life is the effective force that brings the art along, as witness to it. DT: When I was a student here in New York at School of Visual Arts from 1987 a€“ 1989, one thing that confused me tremendously was how trends occurred in the art world. DT: I was in New York from 1987 a€“ 1992 starting with two years graduate school when you were my teacher. DK: Whatever you may think of Thatcher, Saatchi understood the connection of art and advertising in a way that even Warhol didna€™t a€“ the connection of art and publicity. DK:A  And art openings have an atmosphere a little different than if we met in a boardroom or a restaurant where we would eat, chat, or make our deal. DT:A  Everything is getting extremely distended and abstracted from any meaningfulness in terms of what is sold and what the art actually is. Now in America the art may have to do with some sense of Puritanism - a sense of shame about a€?letting it all hang outa€? unless of course you got a TV camera in front of you. DT:A  Knowable human content is easier to grasp that the sort of attenuation of abstraction into, if you will, more and more of a conceptual mode? DT:A  He had draughtsmanship, he loved Soutine, and you could see the lushness of the color. DT:A  I remember very clearly the day in class you described the difference between the erotic and the pornographic. DT:A  And also about how the Christian religion downgraded the body and split the body from the spirit, demonizing Eros. DK:A  They talked about how there was uncertainty that was entering the art auctions.A  Whata€™s the relationship between this blob and one and a half million dollars? DK:A  From a New York perspective the money seems to veil the art a€“ to be the clothing of the art.
DT:A  This is the a€?technological societya€? where the media is in collusion with the promotion of this art. DK:A  Look at how thick it is with advertisements filled with current art images with nice color and all that a€“ so therea€™s marketing. DK:A  All I can say is I know and respect those who know the money side and they say the whole thing is a Ponzi scheme. DK:A  So you can look, leta€™s say, at our Hoover vacuum cleaner man and you can analyze that a€“ you can do a very interesting interpretation of what thata€™s all about. DT:A  Well now they will go see a kitsch skull by Damien Hirst and it will be just as sensational, which is really a sad thing. DK:A  Well, there is a wonderful thing - there is this Bonham Gallery and they are selling meteoritesa€¦. DK:A  I looked at this stuff and I said to myself this is a terrific expression of sculpturea€¦ha! DT:A  What about what the artist Otto Dix experience in WWI expressed in his War Series prints?
DT: Another question- you had Theodore Adorno as your teacher and a very strong background in philosophy.A  Can you comment on how this enriched your approach to critical interpretation in a nutshell? DT:A  So in the Frankfurt School Adornoa€™s approach had a lot to do with dialectical thinking in philosophy and psychoanalysis. DT:A  It certainly is a voice which I find is distinctly different from your art criticism.A  How did your interest in writing this poetry develop and what were the motivating forces that brought it out in you?
DK:A  Also some new things have been published on an online magazine, Per Contra, run by a wonderful literary person named Miriam Kotzin.
DT:A  I am always intrigued that there are different parts of oneself that have different needs that somehow extend themselves into other forms and types of spaces.A  Was it the growing up with the Germanic tradition in poetry that began your motivation?A  Was it French Symbolist poetry? DT:A  It is remarkable to see that you can occupy different dimensions of space within writing.
DT:A  I enjoy the freedom that the poetry gives a€“ the emotional breath about it, the atmospheric breadth it has.
DT:A  Well, it takes sitting down and reading poetry too, and sometimes the spoken element is different from just reading the words. DK:A  This may not be what the official system loves, you may never get a museum show, but it will have its validity. DT:A  I have this internal environment that is absolutely jam pack filled with things that have to be created. My mother had wanted us to fly, but my father said No, the kinds of passenger trains we know wona€™t be around much longer, and I want Jon to know what they were like. But before we could, the Crescent derailed a bit south of Charlottesville, Va., killing several passengers. But this was so exceptional an experience that I want to write about it for you, and while it is fresh in my mind.
After checking in at the Gare de la€™Est and seeing our luggage whisked away, an Orient Express demoiselle led us across the way to an Alsatian brasserie to wait embarkation time at the Orient Expressa€™s expense, with other travelers for Constantinople. While the chef was French, most of the crew were Italian out of Venice, including our sleeping-car steward Marco, and couldna€™t have been better.
He was clearly along to be sucked up to (and was, by the chef especially), without ever descending from Olympus to speak to another passenger as far as I noticed, let alone ask whether the rest of us were enjoying the ride.
We had not finish-ed tea before the MaA®tre da€™ and an assistant came to take our reservation for dinner; we took the second seating in order to relax and enjoy while the daylight lasted the view of the French countryside through which we were passing. But I didna€™t go back to sleep until the train finally moved again a€” on through the night to cross the border into post-Anschluss Austria, heading for Buda-Pest. I only want to mention a few things for the record, hoping that they will be of interest to you.
So after Hungary had ejected the communists in its first free election in 1990, it was my first destination behind the crumbling Iron Curtain just two weeks later as we started developing defense and intelligence relationships with the new emerging democratic Eastern European governments. The meals were splendid, more often than not more than we could manage a€” something the chef found distressing, as he made his way through the dining-cars each time to see if wea€™d been good boys and girls. Meal for meal, those aboard the Orient Express may not be quite that rich, but its chef got more of a crack at us over our six days aboard. And in the moments when the racing wheels quieten, one can hear cartridge-clips being fed into well-oiled automatics, ready for the final shoot-up amid the snows of the frontier. Built principally between 1873 and 1883, ita€™s a knock-out inside and out, and I will never again think of The Prisoner of Zenda without visualizing Peles. Bucharest itself has a long way to go before it matches Buda-Pest or other Eastern European capitals, even though theya€™re also recovering from fifty years of communism. After a tumultuous welcome at Sirkeci station, Susan and I stayed for three additional days at the Seven Hills Hotel in the Sultanahmet a€?old citya€? district, with a staggering view from our balcony of Hagia Sophia rising a block up the hill.


Yeats-Brown, the old Bengal Lancer, we are all indebted for some knowledge of how, in April five-and-thirty years ago, Abdul-Hamid the Damned spent his last night as Caliph of Islam. But I certainly looked for it, and I took away, if not a precise identification, then at any rate an enviable ticket of admission to the Harem.
Anyone who has been to Constantinople or similar points in The Levant will know how hard that can be. The Orient Express was historically a train of international intrigue, running originally from the heart of the Entente Cordiale at its western terminus through Wilhelmine Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the seat of the Ottoman Empire at its eastern end. Our voyage aboard the Orient Express took place as Russia was invading Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains on Turkeya€™s eastern border, and it was on the minds of both the passengers and the peoples through whose lands we were passing. It looks ancient but is actually not, having been built only in the beginning of the twentieth century after the Turks were finally expelled.
Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. A The Rijka€™s museum exhibit of Damien Hirsta€™s Skull is also an attempt to destroy the authentic art that was already there in the museum. A Originally he had set up his print shop Studio 17 in Paris where a lot of the avant-garde artists there came to print.
A I was very confused about how it operated - what was its modus operandi.A  By that time in the late 1980a€™s anti-art already had a very strong hold within the art world. A I needed someone who could give me some real answers.A  I recall you had once criticized certain art of the 1980a€™s as being the equivalent of junk bonds.
The problem, maybe, today because of both the society of the spectacle and because of the anti-art tendency anti- aesthetic tendency, is that ita€™s become confused.
A Art is the certain moment when you reach an idea of the transvaluation of values, and the thing acquired a certain value.A  Now, whatever else is going on, say, with Mr. Ita€™s a dialectical integration of opposites and it carries forward into psychoanalytic thinking which is where a lot of Adornoa€™s ideas come from a€“ conflict theory. So we drove to Chicago, stayed overnight at my aunta€™s, and then took the Pennsylvania Railroada€™s Broadway Limited to New York. We found ourselves at a table, as if the other two seats had been kept open just for us, with an affable man in his fifties and his younger blonde wife. When it began to grow dark, we unpacked and changed into black tie (no mean feat, to do that simultaneously in a Pullman compartment), and set forth for the club car where the champagne was flowing generously on the house that evening.
To me those games of CIAa€™s are little more than the Mad Magazine spy vs spy hijinks I enjoyed as a kid, but I was reading it for a reason a€” to be able to discuss it in London later with someone whoa€™s turning it into a screenplay. Peering out past the edge of the window shade, I saw we were sitting in Municha€™s Hauptbahnhof a€” with people milling about on the platform at that beastly hour? In the afternoon I had wondered how well Ia€™d sleep with the motion and sounds of the moving train; but it was only when it occasionally stopped in the middle of the night that I would awake, with a start, alert and tense.
Buda-Pest in 1990 was threadbare, soiled and wary, since the Red Army had not yet pulled out.
Susan once provoked close to the reaction of Aunt Dahliaa€™s temperamental chef Anatole when Bertie Wooster organized a hunger strike amongst some star-crossed lovers in P. The final one took place in Turkey en route to Constantinople, after a Turkish chef and groceries came aboard at the frontier to prepare and serve our final lunch aboard.
But poor King Carol did not put the finishing touches on it until 1914, the year he died; and by then the World War had already begun to destroy the civilization Peles represented.
Thanks to Ceausescu tearing down beautiful old neighborhoods to build pyramids to himself, prior to Christmas 1989 when the Roumanian Army shot it out with the secret police (shooting Mr. The next night, back on the train for dinner, we were served shot-glasses of really scorching Romanian grappa. Our guide, a woman who was probably an Intourist guide in the bad old days, was full of facts and figures about Varna, none conveying anything of its character. Lord, as he liked to put it, of Two Continents and Two Oceans, he whom Gladstone had dubbed the Great Assassin knew on that night that already the obstreperous Young Turks, twenty thousand strong, were starting toward him from Salonika. He speculated as to what among his bottles might make a decent substitute for Lillet until he was back in Venice at the end of the return voyage, with full resources for comprehensive testing. Instead of Lillet, he had used a lesser amount of Galliano, he said, so the chocolate of the crA?me de cacao stood out a shade more than it would otherwise.
World Wars interrupted service, and then the Cold War brought the Orient Express to a halt, for too many years. As we rolled through Strasbourg, how best to respond to Russiaa€™s reviving imperial ambitions was being debated in the European Parliament there. There half a dozen priests chanted prayers for us, and the bishop spoke to us, one of our guides providing a running translation. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. He fled France because of the invading German army during World War II.A  He had been producing pamphlets in his print shop on how to blow up German tanks. A Many came to Studio 17 to have contact with members of the European avant-garde who they revered.
A I believe anyone could study there as long as you were a serious printmaker and you followed his instruction making the experimental test plate.A  At the time Hayter did not have a high profile status the way DeKooning and Pollock did. A A In todaya€™s art world do you see the work of Jeff Koons and those like him being similar to toxic assets - both financially and spiritually - to use a current terminology? I have never forgotten that trip; I can still see the gleaming chocolate-brown Pullman cars alongside the platform at Chicagoa€™s Union Station, still remember our sleeping compartments and dinner in the dining-car. And rich smooth Colombian coffee afterwards, followed by Armagnac and such in the club car.
Now Peles Castle is to be returned in two years to the king in exile, Michael, already eighty-nine years old, whom the Roumanian government expects will sell it back to the State for a sum that will set up Michaela€™s daughter and grandson for life, or however long the loot lasts after their grieving arrival in Monte Carlo. On the large round bottlea€™s label was a famous fifteenth-century woodcut of Vlad the Impaler.
What she did convey again and again is how Bulgarians feel about Turks, who conquered and ruled the land for several centuries. He could only issue a statement breathing his somewhat belated passion for constitutional government and then await another daylight. Finally the implosion of Soviet Russiaa€™s evil empire in 1989-90 made it possible for service to be restored. In Buda-Pest, Istvan took us to the Citadel the Austrians built after the 1848 revolutions, a spectacular artillery platform high above the Danube below which the entire city lies totally exposed.
The bishop spoke for at least ten minutes, maybe fifteen, but I can reduce what he told us to these few pointed words: a€?Make no mistake about it, the Cold War is coming back. But it wasna€™t that we were unsteady on our feet as we made our way back to our sleeping-car, you understand; it was the rocking of the train as it sped along. Susan, seeing it for the first time, loved it and wants to return sometime to spend a week there. And just had dinner the night before with good old class-of-a€™69 Bob Kimmett, the Treasury under-secretary!
This stop was only twenty-four hours, but we had perfect weather, a personable young guide named IstvA?n SzabA? whose enthusiasm for his city was infectious, rooms on the Buda heights with smashing views of the Danube below and Pest on the other bank, a banquet at the Academy of Sciences, a cruise up and down the Danube as well as an excellent tour of the town, and lunch the day of our departure at Gundel, one of Buda-Pesta€™s great surviving institutions. It must have come all right in the end, though, because when the chef inscribed a menu for Susan at the end of the journey, it was practically a mash-note.
It was the chimney, he told us, of a nineteenth-century power plant now converted from coal to natural gas. What the Roumanians make of Bucharest life today is mixed, according to our intelligent young guide Alexandra, but no one would think of bringing that vampiric era back.
To hear her talk, Bulgarians still brood over Britain and France siding with the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War. Today, he told us, all of Hungarya€™s electricity, power for industry and business, and heat comes from natural gas; and, he said, a€?Ninety-eight percent of it comes from Russia.
Though he bathed daily in milk and never forgot to rouge his saffron cheeks, Abdul-Hamid looked all of his sixty-six years. His concubines, of whom in that house of a thousand divans he had, through the force of tradition, acquired rather more than he any longer remembered what to do with, were themselves having the vapors. And anyway, if he must somehow while away the time until dawn, he would need a more potent anodyne. Happily this was provided by the linguists at the press bureau, for in the nick of time there came dawdling into Constantinople from London a recent issue of The Strand Magazine, and they all worked like beavers on a translation from its pages.
I suspect it was the issue distinguished in the minds of collectors by the first publication of the magnificent story called a€?The Bruce-Partington Plans.a€? Thus it befell that the Great Assassin spent his last night as Sultan sitting with a shawl pulled over his poor old knees while his Chamberlain deferentially read aloud to him the newest story about Sherlock Holmes.



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