Courses

Preview: Testimony of C. H. W. d’Artillac Brill

Q. You met Mephistopheles in the ordinary course of business?

A. I was researching my booklet Holland As It Is : Zó Is Holland when Herr Mephisto, walking beside the North Sea about 10 miles west of Amsterdam, descended a dune and accosted members and guests of Kennemer Golf Club. He posed as a salesman, lauding cars, for instance, as a substitute for walking, while, perversely, a tenacious walker himself with the stamina to buttonhole every warm body on the property—man, woman and child.

Angels escort Faust to God’s Country

Q. He wasn’t asked to leave?

A. 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 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 took a page from my booklet. May I quote?

Q. You’ll be quick about it?

A. 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…

Q. Done?

A. Mr. M was especially boosterish about automobiles. He unveiled a squat, motorized prototype and showed off its usefulness on golf courses by careening after his audiences in it. They were polite, except for one man.

Q. Named Faust?

A. He and Mr. M. competed for business. My photos of the commotion could not be published because Mr. M. claims they are his intellectual property. He and Faust staged elaborate marketing stunts with casts of hundreds. You couldn’t walk in any direction without tripping into their creations, such as Helen of Troy and two Holy Roman emperors, whom their taskmasters called, like everyone else in their employ, “foot soldiers,” selling real estate reclaimed from the sea. In their wake strolled sales reps for earthmovers, pumps and derricks, which would turn the economic tide, literally. The locals were astonished and horrified. Yes, their own club became the object of land speculation.

sources
Faust, Part II (1832), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1949)
Reanimation Library (Holland As It Is : Zó Is Holland (1947, et seq.), C. H. W. d’Artillac Brill)
The Serendipity of Early Golf (2010), Robin K. Bargmann