BLGF, Skopjle II: These Are Albanians!

Self is taking off to see Sole Fruit of Her Loins This Weekend. Jennie said to bring BLGF, but honestly, it weighs around 5 lbs. And she’s not planning to check in any luggage.  So, that means . . . . .

Anyhoo, here’s probably her last BLGF post until Sunday.  It’s just as well.  She hates to read without full concentration, and RW’s prose is so lush, it’d be a crime to read in snatches.  Self allots herself about two hours at a stretch.  That means no getting up for coffee or tea or TV or even to answer the phone.  She just reads.  That’s been her regimen for about two weeks now.

(She did dash to Barnes & Noble yesterday, just for a few moments, to look for Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters.  She also looked up Owen Wister’s 1902 novel, The Virginian, and found it!  Sandy said she remembers a television adaptation from way back when she was a little girl)

Right now, she’s on p. 646, in the chapter Skoplje II.

There are about 75,000 inhabitants of the town, of whom over 10,000 are Turks who gave the town its colour in the first place.  There are fewer minarets than there are in Sarajevo, but they are potent.  And because there is so strong a Christian element in the town, there are constant dramatic disclosures of the essences of Christianity and Islam, each being shown up by its opposite.  Soon there came past the window some Albanians, to begin the revelation.  Though I had my back to them I knew they were on their way, for a look of fatherly concern on my husband’s face told me that he had just caught sight of his first Albanian.  “They are not really coming down,” I said.  No Westerner ever sees an Albanian for the first time without thinking that the poor man’s trousers are just about to drop off.  They are cut in a straight line across the loins, well below the hip-bone, and have no visible means of support; and to make matters psychologically worse they are of white or biscuit homespun heavily embroidered with black wool in designs that make a stately reference to the essential points of male anatomy.  The occasion could not seem more grave, especially as there is often a bunch of uncontrolled shirt bulging between the waistcoat and these trousers.  Nothing, however, happens.

Oh, that RW, she cracks me up, she really does!

Stay tuned.

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