The Violet, Day 24

Composer. Delightful little creature.

Director absent-mindedly paging through the red script. There is much natural charm in her. He pages through the script. I like cleverness. That’s the best-tasting cleverness, that which exists within foolish little women. He pages through the script. But a foolish women’s cleverness tastes sweet as a peach.

Composer. There’s something in that.

Director. Yes, yes. Life is strange indeed. Daydreaming he leans back in his chair and slowly shreds the red script into tiny pieces, scattering them in the wastepaper basket.

Short pause.

Composer. Well, then, we remain as we are.

Director. Just so. We remain as we are.

Short pause.

The servant enters, and without a word takes Szeniczey’s part from under the lamp and carries it out.

Long pause.

Director. The weather is fine.

Composer. Yes. The sun is shining. It’s warm.

Director. At least eighteen degrees Celsius.

Composer. You reckon in Celsius?

Director. Yes. I am a pessimist.

Composer. I like the Réaumur scale better.

Director. They say it’s not bad.


Composer rising. Well then … au revoir, Director.

Director in confusion, among his papers. Au revoir.

The composer departs.

Director notices the parasol, which Ilonka forgot. He opens it. The parasol is full of holes. He looks at it smiling, and shakes his head. Softly, he says to himself: Darling … darling …


I think I averaged around 400 words per day. At that rate, it would take about six months to make a rough translation of a novel, and perhaps half again or twice as long to make a polished version. I probably couldn’t sustain this level of effort for a whole year, but, on the other hand, practice might very well make the work easier and even increase my daily production. I’ll have to see how the next project, which will probably be another short Molnár play, goes. I probably won’t start before May, at the earliest.

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The Violet, Day 23

Director. And yet, you will become humbler. I say, let us suppose that you appeal to me. Well, then, now what will you do with the director?

Ilonka. I will declare that I love you.

Director. And if he then fires me?

Ilonka. He will never fire you, because he’ll hope that I will someday deceive you.

Director. He will hope that? Why will he hope that?

Ilonka. Because that’s how I will appear, and how you will appear.

Director. Unprecedented corruption.

Ilonka. You are all corrupt. Straightaway you misunderstand a person. I may appear to be an alluring little wild violet, but if you examine my morals, you will discover that I am a true pearl.

A bit over two pages today. I’m getting a bit weary of words that appear in no dictionary. I have a meat soup with “bri”, which could be lamp (bárány, birka), wine (bor), maybe dumplings, who knows. I don’t like guessing and I don’t like not knowing. Oh well, I’m getting close to the end, and maybe things will become clearer when I read the existing translation.