Birch-trees, ash-trees, gigantic elm-trees, wild cherry-trees, fern, brambles under a bright blue sky and a sun which breaks the neck. Mr L’Escoussière helps me “fly over the limits of the Gant land parcels”, a grey canvas hat screwed on his head, in boots like the cat and promises to “redo the tour”, meter by meter, at Christmas time when the vegetation will be less dense. With chin and arm he designates a bushy-topped ash-tree which, upright on a bare meadow, can be seen, he assures me, seven or eight kilometers away from here ! Mr L’Escoussière is beaming with happiness. Yesterday he bought a barn in ruins, surrounded by five or six hectares of meadows and signed before the lady-notary (whose five brothers are pastors in the Church of Rome) the bill of purchase. Mr L”Escoussière is inexhaustible like the splendid fountain which he says springs up next to the ford, between land parcels 234 and 242. There the lions go to drink, he wants to say the stags, the hinds, the wild boars and any other small fry. “Especially”, he whispers confidentially into the corner of my ear, “if a stag crosses your road, let him pass, because he won’t move an inch out of the way and will not hesitate to push in the bodywork of your motor-vehicle !”.
Land Parcel 88, before the house, 10 August
Mr L’Escoussière is bent on presenting to me the townhall secretary, Mr Luke, green shirt, blue trousers, eight children, who asks me whether I, like himself, do not feel a kind of anguish when the night falls on the mountain of the Plas. His new neighbour, on the lake-side, is a university director from Provence who has just bought a house without any conveniences or comforts. “One can be learned without being intelligent !”, comments drily Mr L’Escoussière who, a few months later, will entrust the destiny of his son, a thwarted secondary pupil, to the director in question who will place him, intelligently, in a higher domain.
Mimine, ears pricked up, silken jacket, contemplates the scene from the corner of the door.
Claude d’Esplas (Le Parcellaire)
All rights reserved
Translation : Dagmar Coward Kuschke (Tübingen)