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“Nogmaals, hier is iets groots to stand gekomen.” Anoniem
(Again, something of greatness has come into being here. Anonymous)
The characters of Godheid and D’Artillac Brill in this deposition are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Godheid (Godhead). You met Mephistopheles in the ordinary course of business?
D’Artillac Brill. Phil. He insisted on Phil. I was researching my booklet Holland As It Is : Zó Is Holland when Phil, walking beside the North Sea about 10 miles west of Amsterdam, descended a dune and accosted members and guests of Kennemer Golf Club.
Godheid. He was asked to leave?
D’Artillac Brill. No, he represented hope, the Marshall Plan, or said he did. Business rolled from his tongue. Flour factories in Leeuwarden. Textiles in Nijverdal, Borne and Enschede. Steel in IJmuiden. A power plant in Geertruidenberg in Noord Brabant. Cement in Maastricht. Dutch state mines would expand their chemical industries. The Dutch railway would be electrified. Marshall money to reconstruct houses in Limburg, Walcheren, de Betuwe, Arnhem, Nijmegen and Rotterdam. Marshall money to repair the port of Rotterdam, construct the Velsertunnel, expand the Delft Technical Hogeschool (now University), the Bouwcentrum Rotterdam, the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam, the war-damaged Grand Hotel in Scheveningen. Purchasing wheat and agricultural equipment. Enriching agricultural soil. On he went. Showcase villages in Rottevalle in Friesland and Kerkhoven Oisterwijk in Noord Brabant. I daresay he influenced my thinking. May I quote?
Godheid. Be quick about it.
D’Artillac Brill. Coming to Holland in spring you will not travel on, but you may travel across a magic carpet of bulbfields in a dazzling array of flaming colours that outdoes the imagination…The longing for the maximum amount of sunlight and air has been a decisive factor in the planning of new urban neighbourhoods, and of the individual buildings…Where sheaves and farmhouses stand fishes once disported themselves…The water is not only our enemy, it is at the same time our closest friend, as our inland waterways carry the major part of our goods traffic…Our dredgers have been towed out over the oceans and they have been used by Dutch contractors to improve hundreds of harbours on the coasts of five continents…Great progress has also been made with the reconstruction work at the large Amsterdam airport Schiphol, where airlines from all parts of the world meet—
Godheid. Tell me more about the American invasion.
D’Artillac Brill. Phil was pathologically boosterish about anything with a motor. For the golfers, he had a squat number on wheels which he praised to the skies. Perversely, he was quasi-religious about walking; and, knowing his prototype had to stay off the greens, he would abandon it in a flash in order to chase down anybody and everybody to pitch another master plan: the reclamation of real estate from the adjoining sea. New neighbors for Kennemer? The cool reception did not faze him. I would show you photos if Phil had not confiscated them as his intellectual property.
Godheid. What is in the photos?
D’Artillac Brill. Pacts with the devil. I stayed at Landgoed Duin en Kruidberg, Holland’s largest private house, a guest of the Flying Dutchman, who rented it during the events under investigation. Phil roughed it in the ruins of Huis te Brederode, a 13th-century castle.
Godheid. The Flying Dutchman?
D’Artillac Brill. A code name for another American, a friend of Phil’s. Flight was the first condition of his pact. The second and third conditions: money and power. As an early investor in aviation, he made a killing. One of his properties, The Heights, an estate in the States, in addition to being no ordinary assemblage of stone and slate, contained the most valuable collection of Russian art outside Russia. The Heights could float.
Godheid. You have not forgotten that you are under oath?
D’Artillac Brill. And fly. During the time frame being probed, it was seen off the North Sea coast. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, benefactors and beneficiaries of the search for El Dorado, surveilled the waves for enemy activity as intaglio busts on either side of its Great Room window.
Godheid. You were permitted to board?
D’Artillac Brill. Yes, for my book. The parts about Phil and the Flying Dutchman were suppressed.
Godheid. How does Phil explain the deaths?
Faust, Part II (1832), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1949
Holland As It Is : Zó Is Holland, C. H. W. d’Artillac Brill, 1947, et seq.
Angels and d’Artillac Brill: Holland As It Is : Zó Is Holland
Brederode: Frans Berkelaar, altered to b/w
The Heights (assumed name for Treetops): Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation