Is it just me, or is the air suddenly a bit more rarefied? A little bit harder to breathe; certainly the going is getting tougher; my pace slowing. Where I had begun by averaging 80 pages a day, now I am only managing half that amount, if that.
The north face of The Magic Mountain is proving quite an effort to climb.
Partly it has to do with the company. Where at the beginning of the book, there were a multitude of varied characters to cheer me on my way, I now find myself almost exclusively in the company of the loquacious Herrs Settembrini and Naphta and, as travelling companions, they are, frankly, hard-going.
Perhaps it is the lack of oxygen at this lofty altitude, but I find myself struggling to concentrate on the two worthy Herrs interminable discussions on ideas and ideologies; increasingly finding myself, like Joachim Ziemssen, assuming a silence of ‘heroic proportions’.
And, ahead of me all the time, I am conscious of the buttress ‘A soldier, and brave’, blocking my path. Will I have the mental and physical fortitude to overcome it?
It is a battle, but I struggle on. Page 481: “He pressed on, turning right and left among rocky snow-clad elevations…”
© Fergus Longfellow
Fergus Longfellow does not know the meaning of the word quit. (Quit: verb, to leave a place, usually permanently. Ed.)