Robert Walser: Sampler Plate

Sampler Plate

When I narrate a story, I think about food. If, for instance, I say that a band marched trumpeting through the streets of an industrial town, during which event the clock tower struck eleven, my thoughts are somewhere else altogether.

If on the other hand I report, with regard to an intellectual woman, that she offered herself, thanks to unluckiness in love, as a nanny in an aristocratic household, causing great astonishment in the latter, my mental vivacities immidiately address themselves once more to office-session questions awaiting solutions. 

Swallows flew twittering about the head of a washerwoman, which she'd stuck out the window for purposes of air inhalation whereupon she was overwhelmed by the enchanting view. Taking no, or only superficial, interest in this washerwoman, my agile imagination glides off to join a collage girl who one day devoted the sum total of her abilities to clambering with genuine attentiveness into a magnificent tree.

With this I think of something elsewhere - namely, a sack full of sugar in a grocer's shop owned by a woman whom I considered, for a time, my ideal. The art of narration won't let me take the grocer woman seriously. The reader will please refrain from this as well.

Now I shall touch base with the problem of education, insofar as, on the occasion of a cosy chat, a girl who seemed to have a certain dependability about her, for she had all sorts of experiences behind her, pronounced me a boor. Whether it was I or another who was favored with this distinction plays no role before the forum of cultural endeavors. Quiddities never rest, they ramble.

It can happen to anyone that a girl, once made to lose her temper, offers her hand to be kissed in forgiveness.

I've concerned myself with musicians, a coed, three different women, and a graceful girl.


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Ketika teman-teman lama beransur-ansur menjadi suara yang nyaring, dan ingatan saya terhadap mereka semakin kabur dan layu, saya mengalihkan pendengaran kepada bunyi-bunyi yang lebih dekat, dan tidak dipandang penting oleh sesiapa.


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