Chapter 9 (of 20) Ford Madox Ford and the Devil’s Disciple
Chapter 1 (of 20), A Good Café on the Place St-Michael, will take you back in time to the story that began my French culinary experiences while reading A Moveable Feast, chapter by chapter. From there, each chapter will take you to the next chapter and culinary experience.
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway.
Chapter 9 (of 20) Ford Madox Ford and the Devil’s Disciple accompanied by a savoury crèpe and coffee, at Crepeaffaire, Camden Passage, Islington.
Notes From Chapter 9: Ford Madox Ford and the Devil’s Disciple
A WorkLife Book Club For One
Notes on Being Interested and Interesting
The Closerie des Lilas was the nearest good café.
It was one of the best cafés in Paris.
People from the Dôme and the Rotonde never came to the Lilas. There was no one there they knew, and no one would have stared at them if they came. In those days many people went to the cafés at the corner of the Boulevard Montparnasse and the Boulevard Raspail to be seen publicly and in such places anticipated the columnists as the daily substitutes for immortality.
The Closerie des Lilas had once been a café where poets met more or less regularly and the last principal poet had been Paul Fort. But the only poet I ever saw there was Blaise Cendars.
Most of the clients were elderly bearded men in well worn clothes.
We thought of them all hopefully as scientists or savants and they sat almost as long over an apértif as the men in shabbier clothes.
These people made it a comfortable café since they were all interested in each other and in their drinks or coffees, or infusions, and in the papers and periodicals which were fastened to rods, and no one was on exhibition.
These words that Hemingway wrote, reminded me of words written by Ryan Holiday. I follow him on Twitter where he shares Stoic wisdom for everyday life.
What do we want more of in life? That’s the question.
It’s not accomplishments. It’s not popularity. It’s moments when we feel like we are enough. More presence. More clarity. More insight. More truth. More stillness.
The instinct is to look for answers, but the truth is that questions teach us most.
Who do you spend your time with?
Goethe said, “Tell me who you spend time with and I will tell you who you are.”
It’s not just people. What you read, what you watch, what you think about—your life comes to look exactly like your surroundings. Choose wisely.
Wise words. That’s what makes people interested and interesting. Wise words that are true of now and also true of that time in Paris. Indeed wise words true for all times.
Notes on Class
‘Oh here you are,’ he said.
It was Ford Madox Ford.
At that moment a rather gaunt man wearing a cape passed on the sidewalk.
‘Did you see me cut him?’ Ford said.
‘No. Who did you cut?’
‘Beloc,’ Ford said. ‘Did I cut him!’
‘I didn’t see it, ‘ I said. ‘Why did you cut him!’.
‘For every good reason in the world.’ Ford said.
He was thoroughly and completely happy.
‘Tell me why one cuts people,’ I asked.
‘A gentleman,’ Ford explained, ‘will always cut a cad.’
‘Would he cut a bounder?’ I asked.
‘It would be impossible for a gentleman to know a bounder.’
‘Then you can only cut someone you have known on terms of equality?’ I pursued.
‘How would one ever meet a cad?’
‘You might not know it, or the fellow could have become a cad.’
‘Is Ezra a gentleman?’ I asked.
‘Of course not,’ Ford said. ‘He’s an American.’
‘Can’t an American be a Gentleman?’
‘Perhaps John Quinn.’ Ford explained. ‘’Certain of your ambassadors.’
‘Are you a gentleman?’
‘Naturally. I have held his Majesty’s communion.’
‘It’s very complicated.’ I said. ‘Am I a gentleman?’
‘Absolutely not,’ Ford said.
‘Then why are you drinking with me?’
‘I am drinking with you as a promising young writer. As a fellow writer in fact.’
‘Good of you.’ I said.
After Ford left it was dark and I walked over to the kiosque and bought a Paris-Sport Complet.
A great friend of mine who rarely came to the Lilas came over to the table and sat down, and just then as my friend was ordering a drink from Emile the gaunt man in the cape passed us on the sidewalk.
‘That’s Hilaire Beloc,’ I said to my friend. ‘Ford was here this afternoon and cut him dead.’
‘Don’t be a silly ass,’ my friend said. ‘That’s Alestair Crowley, the diabolist. ‘He’s supposed to be the wickedest man in the world.’
Growing up in Ireland, I wasn’t aware of the hierarchal social classes – upper, middle and lower. Everyone I knew was the same. It was only when I moved to the UK that I became aware. And so I read the interaction on the subject with perhaps the same bemusement as Hemingway as he teased out Ford on ‘why one cuts people.’
Once again,these words that Hemingway wrote reminded me of words written by Ryan Holiday.
Words of Wisdom
We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.
Those words are enough to satisfy my bemusement. And to move on. Fast.
I’m not sure when I’ll read the next chapter of A Moveable Feast over a glass and a plate.
It most likely will be another spontaneous happening. It may take a little planning to keep the French theme going, or, as I walk and explore and discover, it may not. …
The Continuing Story …
I can now share where Chapter 10 (of 20)… Birth of a New School took me …
Today I enjoyed a Savoury Crèpe (tomato and cheese) and a coffee at Crepeaffaire, Camden Passage, Islington.
Se souvenir de toi, Norma.
#FUNFACT1 During the Middle Ages, watered down wine was used instead of milk to prepare the batter. (Source Crepe Delicious).
#FUNFACT2 Crepeaffaire’s story began in 2004, when the first family-owned Crêpeaffaire opened in London. Ever since then, they’ve been going places and spreading the joy with stores from Brighton to Newcastle, and the Netherlands to Kuwait! (Source Crepeaffaire).
#FUNFACT3 Camden Passage has made regular appearances on ‘Cash in the Attic‘, ‘Bargain Hunt‘ and many other TV programmes both in the UK and abroad. It’s an interesting place to search out an unusual gift, find fine antiques and furniture, 20th Century design, period and costume jewellery, contemporary and vintage clothing and affordable stylish objects for the home. (Source Camden Passage).
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