Monday, August 31, 2020

the last book I ever read (Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay, excerpt one)

from Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay:

Lij Alamaya resided in a downtown hotel. But he was a special guest in Harlem, where his headquarters was established in the residence of Pablo Peixota, chairman of the Hands to Ethiopia, in 138th Street. He was treated as a royal guest. The entire first floor of the Peixota residence was placed at the envoy’s disposal and served the purpose of reception room and office. The arms of Ethiopia, with the symbol of the lion carrying a cross, was affixed to the street door of the house, a green canopy extended from the entrance to the curb and under its full length was unrolled a red carpet. Peixota insisted upon according his guest all the respect and dignity of an imperial envoy. He wanted the envoy’s visit and contemplated tour to pass off without drawing the ridicule of the powerful white world. And for that reason he had at first regretted the irruption of Professor Koazhy and his fantastic exhibition, even though his resentment was softened by the extra avalanche of dollars.

Lij Alamaya had arrived prepared for simplicity and the democratic way of doing things. He had experienced enough of the routine of ceremony abroad, and here in America, he felt, there was a chance of escape; he would be taking a holiday away from it. And he had thought that of all Americans, the Aframericans would be less interested in the formalities of titles and courts. Evidently he was not conversant with the pomp and splendor of titles and uniforms that glittered in Harlem in the heyday of the Pan-African movement.

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