In Egypt most tourists wear blue spectacles. Arthur Lomax followed this prudent if unbecoming fashion. In the company of three people he scarcely knew, but into whose intimacy he had been forced by the exigencies of yacthing; straddling his long legs across a donkey; attired in a suit of white ducks, a solar topee on his head, his blue spectacles on his nose, he contemplated the Sphinx.
But Lomax was less interested in the Sphinx than in the phenomenon produced by the wearing of those coloured glasses. In fact, he had already dismissed the Sphinx as a most overrated object, which, deprived of the snobbishness of legend to help it out, would have little chance of luring the traveller over fifteen hundred miles of land and sea to Egypt. But as so often happens, although disappointed in one quarter he had been richly and unexpectedly rewarded in another. The world was changed for him, and, had he but known it, the whole of his future altered, by those two circles of blue glass. Unfortunately one does not recognise the turning point of one’s future until one’s future has become one’s past.
Vita Sackville-West, ‘Seducers in Ecuador’ (1924)
Having read and loved Sackville-West’s quietly unassuming piece of gem, All Passion Spent, a couple of years ago, I have not since managed to read any of her other works, other than just a smattering of her letters to her husband and lovers.
So, I thought it’s about time I picked up her Seducers In Ecuador, a novella that was written especially for Virginia Woolf at the height of their intimate affair back then, and see if I will once again be seduced by her writing. Besides, I am now rather intrigued by ‘….. those two circles of blue glass’ that are said to have had altered one’s whole future. Aren’t you?