Page 18 - Vladimir Bartol catalogue, 2019
P. 18

18the shoes on. He put some polish on them and started bu ng them with a rag in big, energetic strokes, almost instantly giving them a cheerful shine.“Next to the collar and tie, shoes are every true gallant’s most important prop. Because when they gleam, so does the whole person, and like it or not, one feels more enterprising and self-assured ...”At this point he walked up to a wall mirror that was broken in several places andhe carefully combed his smooth, blond hair in front of it. He took a dark, still fairlydecent jacket out of the cupboard and put it on. I noticed that it really did conceal the shortcomings of the vest and trousers. He sprinkled a few drops of some pleasant-smelling cologne onto a silken handkerchief. After this he slapped some pink powder on his face, and it was then I noticed to my amazement that all the harsh features had vanished from his face and that he must have been still quite young.He took the mirror o  the wall and inspected himself in it from head to toe. With his muscular build he really did somehow seem unusually aristocratic and elegant. Most closely of all he inspected his face, which now struck me as strangely handsome and re ned. He experimented with several di erent facial expressions in front of the mirror, ultimately assuming the pose of a vaguely melancholy young man.But then he suddenly gu awed riotously, causing us onlookers to  inch, and he hooted victoriously, “Voilˆ un vrai gentleman!”From under the sink he pulled out a full bottle of wine, which he emptied, seemingly in one gulp.“Your health, gentlemen!” he exclaimed.  en he slid into an overcoat, put on a new fedora hat and left the room. We followed him out, and then he locked the door behind us. He bade us farewell again, almost as an afterthought, then raced down the stairs with his slightly limping gait, paying us no more regard. We eventually followed him and it wasn’t until we were in the entryway that Walter remembered what he had come for. “He still hasn’t paid me for those shoes, the devil!” he shouted angrily. When we stepped outside, we barely caught a last glimpse of the blond demon as he limped around the corner and out of sight.

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