Short summary - The Man Who Was Thursday
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
In a romantic and strange corner of London called Saffron Park, met Lucian Gregory - an anarchist poet whose long fiery curls combined with a rough chin suggested the connection of an angel and a monkey, and Gabriel Syme - a young man in a dandy suit, with an elegant blonde a beard and a poet too. «Creativity is genuine anarchy, and anarchy is genuine creativity,» Gregory preached. «I know another poetry, the poetry of human norm and order,» said Syme. «And what you affirm is ordinary artistic exaggeration.» «Ah, there you go! Give me your word that you will not report to the police, and I will show you something that will completely convince you of the seriousness of my words. » - «Please. I won’t inform the police. »
In the small cafe where Gregory led Syme, the table at which they were sitting suddenly sank into the dungeon using a mysterious mechanism. The walls of the bunker are cast with a metallic sheen - they are so hung with bombs, rifles and pistols that there is no free space left. A minute later, a meeting of desperate terrorist anarchists is to take place here. In the European Council of Anarchy, whose seven members are named after the days of the week and are headed by Sunday, at today's meeting they are to elect a new Thursday to the place of the retired, and he should become Gregory. «Gregory, I am flattered that you, having believed my word, have revealed your secret to me. Give me my word that if I open my mine to you, you will keep it as rigorously as I intend to do. » «I give you my word.» «Great.» I’m a police agent from the anti-anarchist department. » - «Damn!»
At the meeting, Syme, posing as the representative of Sunday itself, rejects Gregory's candidacy and offers himself in his place. In vain Gregory grinds his teeth and throws slurred furious cues. Syme becomes Thursday.
At one time, he became a police agent because he was fascinated by the metaphysical idea of fighting against anarchism, as with universal evil. The organizer and head of a special department consisting of detectives-philosophers, a man whom no one had ever seen for reasons of super-conspiracy (all meetings took place in absolute darkness), accepted him for this fantastic service.
Now, extraordinary luck allows Simon to attend a meeting of the Council on the upcoming assassination in Paris of the French President and the Russian Tsar who arrived on a visit. Each member of the Council of Anarchists has some kind of gloomy strangeness, but the most strange and even nightmarish Sunday. This is a man of unusual appearance: he is huge, looks like an inflated ball, elephant-shaped, his thickness exceeds any imagination. According to the extraordinary rules of conspiracy introduced by Sunday, the meeting is held in full view of the public, on the balcony of a luxurious restaurant. With hellish appetite, Sunday swallows huge portions of gourmet food, but refuses to discuss the assassination attempt, since among them, he announces, is a police agent. Syme barely restrains herself, expecting failure, but Sunday points to Tuesday. Tuesday,
On the street, Syme discovers surveillance of himself. This Friday is Professor de Worms, a feeble old man with a long white beard. But, as it turns out, he moves unusually quickly, it is simply impossible to escape from him. Thursday takes refuge in a cafe, but Friday suddenly appears at his table. «Admit it, you are a police agent, just like Tuesday and the same as ... me,» the professor presents a blue card to the Anti-Anarchist Department. Sime with relief presents his.
They are heading for Saturday, Dr. Bull, a man whose face is distorted by scary black glasses that make him make the most terrible assumptions about the crime of his nature. But it turns out that on Saturday for a moment to take off his glasses, everything changes magically: the face of a sweet young man appears, in which Tuesday and Thursday will immediately recognize theirs. Blue cards presented.
Now, three enemies of anarchism are rushing to pursue Wednesday. This is the Marquis of Saint Estash, whose appearance reveals mysterious vices inherited from the depths of centuries. Apparently, it was he who was entrusted with the criminal action in Paris. Having overtaken him on the French coast, Syme challenges the Marquise to a duel, during which it turns out that Wednesday's appearance is a clever make-up, and underneath is a London police inspector, the owner of a blue secret agent card. Now there are four of them, but they immediately find that they are being pursued by a whole crowd of anarchists, led by a gloomy Monday - the secretary of the Council of Anarchy.
What follows unfolds like a true nightmare. The crowd of persecutors is becoming more numerous, and those who could not have expected this to come from the side of the enemy, those who first helped the unhappy pursued policemen, are the old Breton peasant, a respectable French doctor, the head of the gendarmerie of a small town. The truly omnipotent power of the criminal Sunday is revealed - everything is bought, everything is corrupted, everything is crumbling, everything is on the side of evil. The noise of the crowd of pursuers is heard, horses rush, shots blow, bullets whistle, the car crashes into a lamppost, and finally the triumphant Monday tells the detectives: «You are arrested!» - and presents a blue card ... He pursued them, believing that he was chasing after the anarchists .
Those who have returned to London already all «six days of the week» (Tuesday joins them) hope to cope together with the terrible Sunday. When they come to his house, he exclaims: «Do you even guess who I am? I am the man in the dark room who accepted you as detectives! »Then the giant fat man easily jumps from the balcony, bounces like a ball, and quickly jumps into the cab. Three cabs with detectives rush in pursuit. Sunday makes funny faces to them and manages to throw notes, the contents of which are approximately «I love, kiss, but I hold the old opinion.» Your Uncle Peter »or something like that.
Then Sunday makes the following spectacular attractions: he jumps from a cab to a fire truck on the go, deftly, like a huge gray cat, climbs over the fence of the London zoo, rushes around the city on horseback on an elephant (maybe this is his best number) and finally rises to air in a gondola of a balloon. God, how strange this man is! So fat and so light, it is like an elephant and a balloon, and is somewhat like a ringing and vibrant fire engine.
Six are now roaming the London suburbs off the road, looking for the place where the balloon descended. They are tired, their clothes are dusty and torn, and their thoughts are filled with the mystery of Sunday. Everyone sees it in their own way. There is fear, admiration, and perplexity, but everyone finds in it breadth, likeness to the fullness of the universe, and the spill of its elements.
But here they are met by a servant in a livery, inviting Mr. Sunday to the estate. They rest in a beautiful house. They are dressed in gorgeous multi-color, masquerade, symbolic clothes. They are invited to a table set in a marvelous garden of Eden. Sunday appears, it is calm, quiet and full of dignity. The dazzling simplicity of truth is revealed to them. Sunday is the rest of the Lord, this is the Seventh Day, the day of the fulfilled creation. He embodies the completion of order in a visible mess, in the fun and triumph of an ever-renewing norm. And they themselves are the days of labor, everyday life, which in eternal running and pursuit deserve rest and peace. In front of them, in front of the inexorable clarity of order, the metaphysical anarchist rebel, the red-haired Lucifer - Gregory, bow in the end, and the great Sunday grows, expanding, merging with the fullness of God's world.
How strange that this dream came to poet Gabriel Syme while he walked quietly along the alleys of Saffron Park, chatting about trivia with his friend, red-headed Gregory, but the clarity gained in this dream did not leave him, and thanks to her he suddenly I saw a red-haired girl by the grate of the garden in the light of dawn, tearing a lilac with the unconscious majesty of her youth, to put the bouquet on the table when the time came for breakfast.