The Great Ecstasy Of Tiny Enid

Like Kaspar Hauser, she was an enigma. Like Petra Von Kant, she wept bitter tears. And like Woodcarver Steiner, she knew great ecstasy. But was it a religious ecstasy, or was it, as for Woodcarver Steiner, related to ski-jumping at championship level?

Had she been so inclined, there is no doubt that Tiny Enid could have been a top skier in spite of her club foot, for we know that she never allowed that infirmity to dissuade her from the most remarkable exploits. Hang-gliding, hot air ballooning, pole-vaulting and daring undersea rescues were among her many accomplishments, and she was only narrowly pipped to the post in a vinkensport contest when her finch, Edgar, became rattled and chirped susk-e-wiat instead of susk-e-wiet in the final minutes. Yet we have no evidence that Tiny Enid ever strapped on a pair of skis, nor dwelt in an area of snow fallen on sloping ground.

Equally, however, if hers was a religious ecstasy, we are hard put to identify to what brand of supernatural belief it could be ascribed. Those who knew Tiny Enid crinkle in glee as they recall that, like Benjamin Péret, she spat at Catholic priests, so I think we can rule out the Ratzingeristas, as we can confidently dismiss any connection to Aztec fundamentalism, given Tiny Enid’s reported remarks on Temaxcaltechi, the goddess of sweatbaths, whom she described as “far too sweaty”. This is not the place to examine Tiny Enid’s somewhat unseemly preoccupation with both human and divine sweat, for we must keep on track.

That track is the one we hope would lead us to know the source of Tiny Enid’s great ecstasy. With Woodcarver Steiner we know where we stand, as we do with Saint Teresa of Avila and any number of visionary enthusiasts and mystics through the ages. But what can we say of the great ecstasy of Tiny Enid except that it remains a puzzle? We know she experienced such ecstasy, for we have the mezzotints, done from the life, by the mezzotintist Rex Tint, which depict Tiny Enid in great transports of joy. It is true, as Rex Tint’s sister Dot Tint pointed out, that in many of these mezzotints Tiny Enid could more accurately be described as chuckling or giggling in a childish way at slapstick scenes of pratfalls and larkabout, rather than convulsed in spiritual ecstasy. But let us not forget that in one of the most well-known of the mezzotints Tiny Enid is shown so convulsed, standing next to a clown with unmistakeable beads of sweat upon his brow and great patches of perspiration visible under the arms of his clown costume as he reaches up to flap his beclowngloved hands in some sort of funny business. Tiny Enid would never have laughed at a clown, sweaty or not, for she feared them as she feared nothing else on earth, ever.

Trawling through the various biographical documents which survive, I have found no indication that Tiny Enid ever professed any religious impulses whatsoever, nor, for that matter, any more broadly spiritual leanings. Indeed, all accounts agree that she was a severely practical type of heroic infant, never more essentially herself than when solving very concrete problems, usually involving the rescue of persons imperilled. One thinks, for example, of Tiny Enid abseiling down a crevasse to deliver a life-saving polythene bag of nutritious bread pudding to the half-starved, half-frozen polar explorer Sir Blinky Cheeselip, or digging a tunnel under the Vindervandersee to reach a trio of extras from a Werner Herzog film trapped in a subterranean pool rife with blind albino aquatic tentacled beings each with thousands of razor sharp fangs and unassuageable appetites. One pictures Tiny Enid kicking a git in the head with her big black boot.

Perhaps, we must ask, it was her reveries of such deeds which sent her into her great ecstasies? We ask, but for the time being we cannot answer “yes” with any great conviction, not until much further work has been done to disentangle the hugely complicated legacy Tiny Enid left in her heroic, infantile wake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.