Sunday, 29 March 2015

Kind Eyes

Having only discovered the existence of Gerald Berners relatively late in life, I am now constantly on the look out for any more information about him. I was therefore pleased to find the other day this account of a meeting with him at Sacheverell Sitwell's house:

"Gerald Berners came to stay alone for several days. He was familiar from a hundred stories told by the Sitwells and everyone else. He had brought with him a gloomily bound book of Herbert Spencer's, called, I think, "Education, Intellectual, Moral and Physical", with a sepia photograph of the author for the frontispiece, and he spent some of his first morning there retouching it in a very skilful way - the trace of a glint in the eye, a knowing lift of the eyebrow, the hint of a missing tooth and a leer, till the smug and sanctimonious eminent Victorian became a mask of crookedness and louche connivance, with a subtle overall air of tipsiness. It was marvellously contrived.

Gerald's manner had a kind of sparkling diffidence. I was struck by how frequently he blinked his eyelids while talking. I had heard lots of stories about him and some of his clever and comic verses. When someone in Rome asked him why he always wore such dark glasses, he said he had to, because his kind eyes meant he had no peace from the beggars".

No comments:

Post a Comment