Wednesday, April 2, 2014

the last book I ever read (Gore Vidal's Burr, excerpt ten)

from Burr: A Novel by Gore Vidal:

The President received me in his stately office. He had entirely redone the Morris House to make it resemble a royal palace. A diffident young secretary bowed me into the presence.

Washington stood before the fire, as though expecting to be painted. The altogether too famous sallow face was considerably aged. He was also in pain from carbuncles. He greeted me solemnly. Since he remained standing, we faced one another before the fire like ill-matched andirons.

I asked him questions about the Revolution; he made evasive answers. Both questions and answers are now lost. I do recall his cold benediction: “It is a most useful task, Senator Burr, that you are engaged upon.” Plainly he was not happy with my line of questioning which seemed to stress unduly his defeats.

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