On the Antique & Book Market in The Hague, I just bought a new item for my art nouveau bookbinding collection. It is a binding of the novel Eline Vere by Louis Couperus,
decorated by Wenkebach.
Sitting here, in the outdoor café of Bodega De Posthoorn, drinking a cool glass of wine I glance through the stalls and see her, a lady riding her horse. Elegant, but she seemes so lonely there, up high, not involved with the things going on around her.
Of course she makes me think of the tragic Eline Vere, the young lady described in the 1889 Couperus’ novel, placed in The Hague. But I can not imagine Eline on a horse with her habbit of using morphine to escape reality.
I do know she walked, walked and walked. The Dutch artist Theo van der Nahmer (1917-1989) made a wonderfull statue of her in 1949, again such a lonely aura. She died without wanting to, “...just a few drops more perhaps...” it just happend to her.
An historic streetcar passes by, disturbing me with it’s crunching noise. It stops beside the market. On summer Sunday’s the old trams make trips through the citycentre of The Hague. Hop on and let yourself get carried away.
A streetcar. Blanche, in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesse Williams, drinking booze to distract herself from the past “...just a little bit...just a little..., getting raped, a horror that just happend to her. Loosing her grip on reality. Madness taking over.
Her famous death monologue:
“ I can smell the sea air... The rest of my time I’m going to spend on the sea.
And when I die, I’m going to die on the sea.... You know what I shall die of ?
(she plucks a grape and eats it) ... I shall die of eating an unwashed grape”
Oh my dear, it makes me cry, everytime I speak that monologue... even now, sitting here on the market with Eline Vere and a streetcar.
Yes, Eline might have got on a streetcar, pulled by a horse, going to Scheveningen.
The sea is there.
This year 2014, the celebration of 150 years of streetcars in The Hague will be a wonderfull historic event, with exhibitions, but of course also with old trams riding the tracks.
Information on old streetcars in The Hague can be found on:www.hovm.nl - the tram museum.
written by: Marx Warmerdam