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Extract from The Sponger (De uitvreter).


At table Jimmy was more talkative. He chattered enough for three, ate enough for six. 'Sea air digs holes in your belly', they say in Veere. Jimmy drank for six more and sang all the verses of the song about the Nancy Brig. In short, he was very lively and noisy, and Bavink thought that a bloke like that was worth his weight in gold.


And so he was. In the afternoon he took Bavink around the canals and made him walk all around Zierikzee three times. His tongue never stopped wagging and his walking stick never stopped pointing, and when the locals paused to look he would go up to them and address them as 'Young man', and ask whether they felt alright and pat'em on the back until Bavink was like to split his sides with laughing. That was right up Jimmy's street - settling accounts with the bien-pensant Dutch public, who won't tolerate anyone who doesn't look at least as stupid and full of bad taste as themselves, and jeer at you and criticize you aloud as if pastors and priests haven't been busy educating the people for centuries in even the smallest village.

Extract from The Sponger (De uitvreter). In : 'Writing in Holland and Flanders', 1961, December, p. 9. Vertaling door Roy Edwards.


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