A significant number cropped up this week...
'All women ought to be painlessly put to death at the age of forty,' she said to herself...
From 'The Eavesdropper', in E.F.Benson's Fine Feathers.
Sitting there, the past was strangely, heavily upon me, and it was so all the time I was in Arles. The vague menace of ancient history seemed to rise up from the stones everywhere I went, but later I got it mixed up with a menace that was much more modern.
Next month I am 42... I don't care, I am settled in life now, & anyway for a woman 30 is the rubicond (or rubicon? Pity not to be educated, & it comes out more in writing than in speaking when one can slur things over a bit).
Villani thought about the dead he had seen. He remembered them all. Bodies in Housing Commission flats, in low brown brick-veneer units, in puked alleys, stained driveways, car boots, the dead stuffed into culverts, drains, sunk in dams, rivers, creeks, canals, buried under houses, thrown down mineshafts, entombed in walls, embalmed in concrete, people shot, stabbed, strangled, brained, crushed, poisoned, drowned, electrocuted, asphyxiated, starved, skewered, hacked, pushed from buildings, tossed from bridges. There could be no unstaining, no uninstalling, he was marked by seeing these dead as his father was marked by the killing he had done, the killing he had seen. (Truth)
To Dove he said, 'Charge him with accessory to murder, conspiracy to pervert, deprivation of liberty, any old fucking thing crosses your mind. Then he can wait for Monday, have a little time to think.'
Vallani said, 'Cop is all I know... I've got what I hear is called a restricted skill set. I copied my bosses, they copied theirs.''That can work,' said Hendry, 'if you don't copy something flawed. Then the copies get worse in every generation.''That's what I'm saying,' said Villani. 'I'm several generations flawed. The object will soon be unusable.'
In the street now, the night wind had brought the smoke from the high country, mingled it with the city's smells of petrochemicals, carbon, sulphur, cooking oils and burnt rubber, drains, sewers, hot tar, dogshit, balsamic nightsweats, the little gasps of a million beer openings, a hundred trillion sour human breaths.
The other blokes thought I was a top sheila, pressing myself against the guy and letting him cop a feel of my tits while I whispered sweet and dirty into his ear. What they didn't know was, I had his middle finger bent back at an unnatural angle and was increasing the pressure of my knee on his balls as I said, 'Sweetheart, you try that again and I'll snap this thing off and shove it up your arse, understand?'
'If only I could be sure they wouldn't torture me, that it would be swift and painless, then I would give myself up to them. I can't stand this waiting any more, and in all probability it is futile. Sooner or later, they'll catch me. Why does every individual survivor matter so much, myself most of all?'
Inspector Laub followed the watchword of the times: Everyone is guilty. You just need to probe for long enough, and you'll find something.
'Show me one that isn't afraid!' said the brownshirt contemptuously. 'And it's so unnecessary. They just need to do what we tell them.'
'It's because people have got in the habit of thinking. They have the idea that thinking will help them.'
'They need to do as they're told. The Führer can do their thinking for them.'
Perhaps such cards were a fiendish device, to be distributed among suspicious individuals, to see how they reacted? Perhaps he had been under surveillance for a long time already, and this was just a further means to monitor his response?
'What did you expect anyway, Quangel? You, an ordinary worker, taking on the Führer, who is backed by the Party, the Wehrmacht, the SS, the SA? ... It's ludicrous! ... It's a gnat against an elephant. I don't understand it, a sensible man like you!'
'No, and you never will understand it, either. You see, it doesn't matter if one man fights or ten thousand; if the one man sees he has no option but to fight, then he will fight, whether he has others on his side or not. I had to fight...'
I think of the Postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows that he cannot say to her, 'I love you madly', because he knows that she knows (and that she knows that he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still, there is a solution. He can say, 'As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly.' At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly that it is no longer possible to speak innocently, he will nevertheless have said what he wanted to say to the woman: that he loves her, but he loves her in an age of lost innocence. If the woman goes along with this, she will have received a declaration of love all the same. Neither of the two speakers will feel innocent, both will have accepted the challenge of the past, of the already said, which cannot be eliminated; both will consciously and with pleasure play the game of irony... But both will have succeeded, once again, in speaking of love.
The very hour of her departure she awoke to what she had done: the guilt, whose aspect had been shunned in the prospective, assumed at once its true, frightful colour, the blackness of darkness; and a lively remorse, a never dying anguish, took possession of her soul forever. Oh, reader, believe me! Lady -- wife -- mother! should you ever be tempted to abandon your home, so will you awake. Whatever trials may be the lot of your married life, though they may magnify themselves to your crushed spirit as beyond the endurance of woman to bear, resolve to bear them; fall down upon your knees and pray to be enabled to bear them: pray for patience; pray for strength to resist the demon that would urge you so to escape; bear unto death, rather than forfeit your fair name and your good conscience; for be assured that the alternative, if you do rush on to it, will be found far worse than death.
'Did you ever hear that it was necessary, or expedient, or becoming for a young lady to set on and begin to "like" a gentleman as "her husband?"'
"The trouble with young Cluny," said Mr. Porritt, "is she don't seem to know her place."At last it was out, Cluny Brown's crime; and her uncle could never have put into words -- not even to a stranger, not even in a park -- the uneasiness it caused him. To know one's place was to Arnold Porritt the basis of all civilised, all rational life; keep to your class, and you couldn't go wrong. A good plumber, backed by his Union, could look a duke in the eye; and a good dustman, backed by his Union, could look Mr. Porritt in the eye. Dukes, of course, had no Union, and it was Mr. Porritt's impression that they were lying pretty low.
He sat down and removed his boots, placing them neatly on the lower shelf of a bamboo whatnot. The top of the whatnot bore a chenille mat, a brass tray, a brass pot, in the pot a fine rubber-plant; the whole standing just where it ought, plumb in the centre of the bow-window.
"Could I keep a dog at Friars Carmel?"
"I don't see why --" began the Colonel; and paused. For the last few minutes he had quite forgotten he was talking to a parlourmaid, but now he remembered. Well, of course she couldn't keep a dog; parlourmaids didn't. "I doubt it," said the Colonel hastily.
Cluny said nothing; but she turned her black eyes upon him and in a most mournful look. What a look it was! At once bright and liquid, tragic and brave, innocent and deep... And under the influence of Cluny's gaze a strangely unorthodox notion -- his first in ten years -- suddenly struck him: what was the use of treating servants well, giving 'em good food and all that, if you wouldn't let 'em keep a dog? He felt really disturbed.
"...Look at Paderewski -- the greatest musician in the world, we had to make him President as well. If you win a motor-race, you are made secretary to the Board of Trade. I have a success with my writings, so I must become a lecturer. Thank heaven they did not give me the Police Force..."
"How well you speak English," observed Lady Carmel.
"It is the universal tongue."
"Ha!" exclaimed Sir Henry, much pleased. "That's what I say. As a young man my dear parents sent me on a tour round the world. I left speaking English and I came back speaking English, and I never spoke a word of anything else the whole time. Didn't need to."
"And did you enjoy your travels, sir?"
"No," said Sir Henry.
It made no difference to her reception of him whether Mr. Belinski had been the victim of appendicitis or of mob violence; but it made a great difference to Lady Carmel, who was mildly interested in the first, but could not bear to contemplate the second.
Several years before she had made quite a friend of an old man who took a tortoise into Kensington Gardens; and he told her he was never sure whether the tortoise enjoyed these outings or not, whether it didn't after all think, damn this grass.
Even as she smiled fragments of dialogue were forming in her mind -- "But people always talk to me!" she would say. "I feel like that man in Kipling who sat still and let the animals run over him." Or was Kipling just a little bit -- dating? "Like that man in the jungle," perhaps -- and leave his provenance vague...
Αἴσωπος οὖν τὸν μῦθον εἶπε δηλώσαςἐλεεινὸς <ὅσ>τις εἰς γυναῖκας ἐμπίπτει·ὥσπερ θάλασσα <προσ>γελῶσ' ἀποπνιγει.
Aesop told this fable in order to show how pitiable a man is who falls into the hands of women. Women are like the sea; which smiles and lures men on to its sparkling surface, then snuffs them out.
There would have to be another night of watching and waiting in the cold. He had no patience with it. If this Englishman had to be killed, let him be killed easily, quickly. A dark stretch of pavement, a knife under the ribs, a slight twist of the wrist to let the air inside the wound, and it was done. No fuss, no trouble, practically no noise. (Cause for Alarm)
'My nerves', I snapped, 'are perfectly all right.'
He nodded calmly. 'That's good. You're going to need them in a minute. We're going to drop off this train when it slows down for the curve at Treviglio.'
... I couldn't adjust my mind to these new and fantastic circumstances. I found myself wondering seriously whether perhaps by pinching myself I might wake up to find that I was, after all, still in bed in Rome. But no: there was Zaleshoff smoking and gazing intently out of the window and in my pocket there was a safety-razor, a leaking tube of shaving cream, and a pair of American underpants.
'Here comes my sister!' cried the child, in a moment. 'She's an American girl.'
...Randolph... continued to supply information with regard to his own family... 'My father ain't in Europe; my father's in a better place than Europe.'Winterbourne imagined for a moment that this was the manner in which the child had been taught to intimate that Mr Miller had been removed to the sphere of celestial rewards. But Randolph immediately added, 'My father's in Schenectady. He's got a big business. My father's rich, you bet.'
It seemed to him that Rome had never been so lovely as just then. He stood looking off at the enchanting harmony of line and colour that remotely encircles the city, inhaling the softly humid odours and feeling the freshness of the year and the antiquity of the place reaffirm themselves in mysterious interfusion.