In 1926, George Stendhal IV, alleged grandson of the famous 19th century French author, penned the following haiku. He wrote this haiku in Scotland, and wrote it in English (much to the relief of this translator).
Georges Stendhal was with his wife vacationing in the Scottish Highlands, as they did every year the first week of October. An Englishman there, also vacationing (T.S. Eliot to all accounts), had introduced Stendhal to the haiku form – which was the rage among the literati of the time in England and America – having been introduced from Japan via India in the years following the “Great War”.
His heart was smitten
Her smile a beacon of light
Ah, if only…..
Plus D’Idees pour Histoires
(More ideas for stories from the pen of Georges Stendhal)
The Duke of Avignon was a queer fellow. Perhaps his oddness came from dancing
to the traditional French folksong “Sur le Pont D’Avignon” on the old stone bridge every spring. Silly song it was. The Duke hated it.
The Duke would rather to the green countryside retire. Seated in a canvas lounge-chair alongside a mountain lake in Scotland, and served tea and biscuits by obsequious waiters, the Duke had grown accustomed to “la bonne vie”. Women were served to him almost on a plate – like the tasty English biscuits. He had all a man could want. It wasn’t a bad life, he mused to himself. Yet, he wanted more.
When Ann-Marie, the exquisite young Duchess of Champagne was presented to him on a Bastille Day celebration in July 1926, he was completely and thoroughly enthralled. She was a great beauty, yet simple and sincere in all her ways. Many of his other mistresses had been beautiful too. But none were like Ann-Marie.
Rapidly, and for the first time in his life, he felt the power of a certain magical kinship, an intimacy and depth of feeling he had never experienced or even imagined before. He felt her love, her affection for him; he felt her pain as well.
After several months of week-end trysts and secret rendez-vous’, the Duke was ready to leave his “bonne vie” for this woman: this mellifluous, luxuriant woman who only promised him “un fin terrible”. Those were her words.
The Duke, sitting in Scotland, planned his escape from Avignon.