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A spoof in the style of Henry James, by Graham Greene

Lying there his head cushioned, how cushioned only his great forebears, Tristram, Paolo, Anthony, Ronio & the incomparable Jules could have adequately conceived, cushioned against a softness, a furriness, an obscure yielding carpet of brown moss that the poets had sometimes compared to a forest, others to a Lily pond, & the Eastern writer who had conceived the thousand and one nights to a rabbit, he felt an urgent need to fasten his lips, nay to thrust his tongue between these outjutting coral cliffs, to speak in these hidden caverns Ė not the essential juices that now urgently, relentlessly demanded satisfaction in the same crevice, but the essential, the gourmet extracts edible also to the crab & aguja, the feel of fungi and so raising his head he pushed, he propelled, he satisfied the first craving against her cunt, quickly, savagely, his tongue rasping like a cat, before he turned his attention to the imperative demands of his job. 

This is an extract of an undated letter from Graham Greene to his lover Catherine Walston.  It was written from Vienna where he was writing the script for The Third Man. Perhaps around June 1948.

At much the same time Greene must have written Harry Limeís (Orson Welles) famous parting speech to his friend Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton).

"When you make up your mind send me a message Ė Iíll meet you any place, any time, and when we do meet, old man, itís you I want to see, not the police Ö and donít be so gloomy Ö After all, itís not that awful Ė You know what the fellow said Ö In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

Here is another letter Greene wrote to Catherine, a couple of years later, in easily decipherable code.


D d d,

I l y c,

I w y t s i m b.

I w t f y,

I w t b y,

I w t m l t y

I w t k y

and above everything else in the world,

I w y t m m.

W a m l,




She never did.

Click here for a lovely poem by Greene to Catherine



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Last modified: September 20, 2006