Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Library at Kovecses

"The library was so crammed that most of the panelling was hidden, and the books, in German and French and English, had overflowed in neat piles on the floor.  The surviving area of wall was filled by antlers and roebuck horns, a couple of portraits and a Rembrandt etching.  There was an enormous desk covered with photographs, a box of cigars with  cutter made out of a deer's slot and, beside them, a number of silver cigarette cases laid in a neat row, each of them embossed with a different gold monogram.  (This, I noticed later on, was an invariable item in Central European country houses, particularly in Hungary.  They were presents exchanged on special occasions, and always between men: for standing godfather, for being best man at a wedding, second in a duel, and so on.)  There were shaded lamps and leather armchairs beside a huge open stove, a basket of logs and a spaniel asleep in front of it."

A Time of Gifts  Patrick Leigh Fermor

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