Yes, still reading The Magic Mountain. But almost finished!
Just in case you decide to read it . . .I’ve drawn some sketches
of the main characters to whet your appetite.
This book is 706 pages and I’m on page 546, starting a new chapter
called Vingt et un. It’s been quite an interesting romp up here at the
sanatorium Berghof in the Alps.
Hans Castorp, at age 23, goes up to the sanatorium to visit his
cousin, Joachim, for three weeks. Those were the days when people
with tuberculosis were sent to sanatoriums to get rested and well.
This is a picture of young Hans–kind of a naive fellow.
Yes, he looks naive all right, doesn’t he? I don’t think
I’ll show him this sketch because he himself dabbled in
watercolors –and he might think that my sketch is the
thing that’s naive.
You want to know what the cousin looked like—-that
would be Joachim Ziemssen–a soldier in real life and
a very proud soldier and anxious to get back to the
“flatlands” to continue his career.
He looks a little like Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, hm?
That mustache makes him look a little older than he
probably was . . . He’s a pretty serious guy, but grateful
for Hans visit. Soon Hans is part of the general routine
of the sanatorium–big meals about five times a day–and
enforced rest periods when one lies out on his/her balcony
wrapped in blankets to keep warm in the below freezing
weather—sun and cold being part of the cure.
The part I liked best was the rest period from 2 to 4 each
afternoon. I tried to go outside and “rest” for those hours,
too, sitting by the pool! It would be an easy habit to adopt.
If only I had TB!
You want to know if there’s a love interest in the book. Well,
yes there is. Although you might think that the bunch up
there is creeping around on crutches or something, they are
actually quite an active bunch and there is a lot of furtive
sneaking around on balconies at “rest time”!
Our Hans has set his heart on a Russian woman, Clavdia
Chauchat, whose “supple” body and . . .yes, that DOES read
“Clavdia”. If you want, we’ll refer to her as Claudia. Whose
supple body and long legs . . .Alas! she’s a married woman
but under the circumstances, with everyone’s health so
fragile . . .
The days of Hans’ visit fly by, or don’t, time is tricky up
there at the sanatorium—-and one day Hans thinks to
himself, “Is my throat a little sore? Do I have a fever?”
See if you can figure out what might be happening. Do
you think Hans will leave when his three weeks’ visit is over?