The Méséglise Way


‘It was indeed a hawthorn, but one whose flowers were pink, and lovelier even than the white. It, too, was in holiday attire, for one of those days which are the only true holidays, the holy days of religion, because they are not appointed by any capricious accident, as secular holidays are appointed, upon days which are not specially ordained for such observances, which have nothing about them that is essentially festal – but it was attired even more richly than the rest, for the flowers which clung to its branches, one above another, so thickly as to leave no part of the tree undecorated, like the tassels wreathed about the crook of a rococo shepherdess, were every one of them ’in colour,’ and consequently of a superior quality…it was Nature herself who had spontaneously expressed it (with the simplicity of a woman from a village shop, labouring at the decoration of a street altar for some procession) by burying the bush in these little rosettes, almost too ravishing in colour, this rustic ’pompadour.’ High up on the branches, like so many of those tiny rose-trees, their pots concealed in jackets of paper lace, whose slender stems rise in a forest from the altar on the greater festivals, a thousand buds were swelling and opening, paler in colour, but each disclosing as it burst, as at the bottom of a cup of pink marble, its blood-red stain, and suggesting even more strongly than the full-blown flowers the special, irresistible quality of the hawthorn-tree, which, wherever it budded, wherever it was about to blossom, could bud and blossom in pink flowers alone.’

Remembrance of Things Past: Janey Alexander, March 1962-May 2017

4 comments on “The Méséglise Way

  1. Wonderful, classic Proust, the most elaborate way possible of saying ‘It was an abundantly flowering pink hawthorn.’ Wonderful, Proust-worthy images, too.

  2. The Prof says:

    Really Robert…………red socks to a funeral?

  3. The Prof says:

    Robert, I knew such a petulant comment would command a response! I am a novice internet user and only recently discovered your articles. I understand the correct term is a ‘blog’, (whoever invented such a nondescript term) but I belong in the 19th century, continuing to correspond by letter and prefer to shop in a ‘physical store’ as I am so ham-fisted with buttons and screens. Your articles, however, provide the necessary joie de vivre to lift one from the profanities of everyday life in rural Ireland which can leave one so dispirited. Please be encouraged to continue adding some civilisation to modern Irish life: as your writing (and many favorable replies) prove, Irish aestheticism is not (completely) oxymoronic.

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