I. L. Caragiale - Literary Works III

«He was handsome, indeed. He had a classical-featured face, framed by long black locks, a broad serene forehead and big eyes (watching these windows of him, you could certainly see that someone was in there). His smile was mild and deeply melancholic. He had the air of a young saint just descended from an icon; he resembled to a child predestined to suffering, whose face bore the mark of some future pains.

'Allow me to introduce myself: Mihai Eminescu.'

This is how I met him.

Animated by our foolish age of seventeen, we spent all that long night over discussing plenty of philosophical matters!

What an enthusiasm! What a joy!

For certain, it was no trick of my imagination. He was really a wonderful young man.

In just one night, he briefed me on German literature, which he took such delight in.

'If you love poetry so much, it means you have to go on writing’, I said to him.... 'I am told you have already written several things.'

'Well, frankly, I have.'

'Then, would you mind reading me some of it? I like poetry too, even if I am simply unable to put anything down on paper.'

Eminescu immediately answered my request....

*

This is how I met him then and this is how he was until the end of the last good period in his life: joyous and sad; talkative and sulky; mild and rough; now pleased with just a little bit, then totally unsatisfied; at one moment abstemious like a hermit, while in the next second totally greedy for life’s pleasures; running away from people and, meanwhile, looking for them; careless as an old stoic philosopher, as well as irritable as a nervous girl. What an odd combination! It was a happy mixture for the artist, but so terrible for the man!...

*

This Eminescu endured many pains, even hunger, it is true, but he never bent: he was a man who would not stoop, because he was not at all the usual type.

Entire generations will be buried in Serban-Voda cemetery on the hill, after they first have filled a mere place with their insignificant existence. But a real piece of a man, out of which another Eminescu could be carved, this might be never found again...»

June 18, 1889

(Translated by Junona Tutunea)

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