The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bellow in 1987

I stumbled over this cute paragraph in More Die of Heartbreak [p. 40 in the Penguin trade paperback]:
It galls my father that my perfect French is wasted in the U.S.A. Who was there to talk to in any language, and whom did I see -- the family? Uncle Vilitzer? I only read about Great-Uncle Harold in the papers, I seldom saw him or his family. This old-time pol and ward-boss, a machine alderman, was as crooked as they came. Grand juries couldn't nail him, though they often tried. No exaggeration to say that he could fill the bleachers of a major league ballpark with the officials he owned, and thinking it might entertain Daddy, I tried to explain some of Vilitzer's operations. He took my offering coldly. Compared to a Jacques Chirac, what was a Vilitzer? A crude American youpin.

Plus ca change...