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terça-feira, 18 de dezembro de 2007

Livros que já li

Um dos momentos mais inesquecíveis de Bleak House, de Dickens, é aquele em que Esther Summerson, a protagonista, visita pela primeira vez a casa de Miss Flite. Miss Flite, que colecciona pássaros, vive no terceiro andar de um edifício pertencente à bizarra personagem que ocupa o rés-do-chão com uma gata bastante antipática chamada Lady Jane. (No segundo andar vive outra misteriosa figura, viciada em ópio, que mais tarde se descobrirá ser o pai de Esther.)
O dono do edifício tem uma loja muito estranha, onde tudo se compra e nada parece estar à venda. Quando Esther lá chega, o nevoeiro está tão denso e a atmosfera tão escura que se não fosse o proprietário estar a mover-se lá dentro com uma lanterna acesa, nada do interior seria destrinçável. Gosto muito do inventário que a lanterna acesa permite. Garrafas, tinteiros, papelada inútil, livros velhos, pergaminhos, sacos usados, chaves, farrapos, ossos:

«She had stopped at a shop over which was written "KROOK, RAG AND BOTTLE WAREHOUSE." Also, in long thin letters, "KROOK, DEALER IN MARINE STORES." In one part of the window was a picture of a red paper mill at which a cart was unloading a quantity of sacks of old rags. In another was the inscription "BONES BOUGHT." In another, "KITCHEN-STUFF BOUGHT." In another, "OLD IRON BOUGHT." In another, "WASTE-PAPER BOUGHT." In another, "LADIES' AND GENTLEMEN'S WARDROBES BOUGHT." Everything seemed to be bought and nothing to be sold there. In all parts of the window were quantities of dirty bottles—blacking bottles, medicine bottles, ginger-beer and soda-water bottles, pickle bottles, wine bottles, ink bottles […]. There were a great many ink bottles. There was a little tottering bench of shabby old volumes outside the door, labelled "Law Books, all at 9d." […] There were several second-hand bags, blue and red, hanging up. A little way within the shop-door lay heaps of old crackled parchment scrolls and discoloured and dog's-eared law-papers. I could have fancied that all the rusty keys, of which there must have been hundreds huddled together as old iron, had once belonged to doors of rooms or strong chests in lawyers' offices. The litter of rags tumbled partly into and partly out of a one-legged wooden scale, hanging without any counterpoise from a beam, might have been counsellors' bands and gowns torn up. One had only to fancy, as Richard whispered to Ada and me while we all stood looking in, that yonder bones in a corner, piled together and picked very clean, were the bones of clients, to make the picture complete.»

Imagem: Booknest, de Rosamond Purcell (The object consists of two books, fused together and partly transformed by mice into a nest. Describing this image, Gould makes much of the object's in-between status, taking it as a touchstone for a world in flux.)

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