June 29th, 2016


(no subject)

in your public life...

words that embody things that may be a part of you are "comet, drum, fame, fever, foot, friend, gem, iron, light, lips, past, pitch, sea, wolf, zoo".

words that embody people or things in your periphery are "alchemy, biology, challenge, chameleon, clown, creation, emerald, endurance, falsehood, father, fiction, glass, guitar, guru, helix, indigo, jaguar, killer, kiss, library, loop, lyric, master, matrix, mentor, muse, night, pentacle, revenge, ripple, rodent, rune, scholar, science, script, silence, silver, skunk, soul, spin, storm, teeth, tequila, touch, victim, violence, water, work".

in your private life...

words that embody your presence are "crucifix, harvest, outside, passion, saturn, tolerance".

words that embody the people or things that you interact with are "angel, art, candle, greed, mate, pagan, rat, sable".

words that embody things that you may be a part of are "juxtaposition".

words that embody people or things in your periphery are "astronaut, butterfly, electricity, enthusiasm, transformation".

in your spiritual life...

words that embody your presence are "inspiration, serendipity".

words that embody things that may be a part of you are "car, facade, jade".

words that embody people or things in your periphery are "attraction, blue, cup, encyclopedia, film, food, fulfillment, gamble, industry, line, luxury, mathematics, mercury, mind, pact, pain, poverty, revelation, satellite, splendor, stonehenge, television, toe, unknown".

let it be written. i. am an ass.

chapter viii

six weeks had passed away. it was a splendid morning about the close of june. most of the hay was cut, but the last week had been very unfavourable; and now that fine weather was come at last, being determined to make the most of it, i had gathered all hands together into the hay-field, and was working away myself, in the midst of them, in my shirt-sleeves, with a light, shady straw hat on my head, catching up armfuls of moist, reeking grass, and shaking it out to the four winds of heaven, at the head of a goodly file of servants and hirelings - intending so to labour, from morning till night, with as much zeal and assiduity as i could look for from any of them, as well to prosper the work by my own exertion as to animate the workers by my example - when lo! my resolutions were overthrown in a moment, by the simple fact of my brother's running up to me and putting into my hand a small parcel, just arrived from london, which i had been for some time expecting. i tore off the cover, and disclosed an elegant and portable edition of 'marmion.'

'i guess i know who that's for,' said fergus, who stood looking on while i complacently examined the volume. 'that's for miss eliza, now.'

he pronounced this with a tone and look so prodigiously knowing, that i was glad to contradict him.

'you're wrong, my lad,' said i; and, taking up my coat, i deposited the book in one of its pockets, and then put it on (i.e. the coat). 'now come here, you idle dog, and make yourself useful for once,' i continued. 'pull off your coat, and take my place in the field till i come back.'

'till you come back? - and where are you going, pray?

'no matter where - the when is all that concerns you; - and i shall be back by dinner, at least.'

'oh - oh! and i'm to labour away till then, am i? - and to keep all these fellows hard at it besides? well, well! i'll submit - for once in a way. - come, my lads, you must look sharp: i'm come to help you now:- and woe be to that man, or woman either, that pauses for a moment amongst you - whether to stare about him, to scratch his head, or blow his nose - no pretext will serve - nothing but work, work, work in the sweat of your face,' &c., &c.

leaving him thus haranguing the people, more to their amusement than edification, i returned to the house, and, having made some alteration in my toilet, hastened away to wildfell hall, with the book in my pocket; for it was destined for the shelves of mrs. graham.

'what! then had she and you got on so well together as to come to the giving and receiving of presents?' - not precisely, old buck; this was my first experiment in that line; and i was very anxious to see the result of it.

we had met several times since the - bay excursion, and i had found she was not averse to my company, provided i confined my conversation to the discussion of abstract matters, or topics of common interest; - the moment i touched upon the sentimental or the complimentary, or made the slightest approach to tenderness in word or look, i was not only punished by an immediate change in her manner at the time, but doomed to find her more cold and distant, if not entirely inaccessible, when next i sought her company. this circumstance did not greatly disconcert me, however, because i attributed it, not so much to any dislike of my person, as to some absolute resolution against a second marriage formed prior to the time of our acquaintance, whether from excess of affection for her late husband, or because she had had enough of him and the matrimonial state together. at first, indeed, she had seemed to take a pleasure in mortifying my vanity and crushing my presumption - relentlessly nipping off bud by bud as they ventured to appear; and then, i confess, i was deeply wounded, though, at the same time, stimulated to seek revenge; - but latterly finding, beyond a doubt, that i was not that empty-headed coxcomb she had first supposed me, she had repulsed my modest advances in quite a different spirit. it was a kind of serious, almost sorrowful displeasure, which i soon learnt carefully to avoid awakening.

'let me first establish my position as a friend,' thought i - 'the patron and playfellow of her son, the sober, solid, plain-dealing friend of herself, and then, when i have made myself fairly necessary to her comfort and enjoyment in life (as i believe i can), we'll see what next may be effected.'

so we talked about painting, poetry, and music, theology, geology, and philosophy: once or twice i lent her a book, and once she lent me one in return: i met her in her walks as often as i could; i came to her house as often as i dared. my first pretext for invading the sanctum was to bring arthur a little waddling puppy of which sancho was the father, and which delighted the child beyond expression, and, consequently, could not fail to please his mamma. my second was to bring him a book, which, knowing his mother's particularity, i had carefully selected, and which i submitted for her approbation before presenting it to him. then, i brought her some plants for her garden, in my sister's name - having previously persuaded rose to send them. each of these times i inquired after the picture she was painting from the sketch taken on the cliff, and was admitted into the studio, and asked my opinion or advice respecting its progress.

my last visit had been to return the book she had lent me; and then it was that, in casually discussing the poetry of sir walter scott, she had expressed a wish to see 'marmion,' and i had conceived the presumptuous idea of making her a present of it, and, on my return home, instantly sent for the smart little volume i had this morning received. but an apology for invading the hermitage was still necessary; so i had furnished myself with a blue morocco collar for arthur's little dog; and that being given and received, with much more joy and gratitude, on the part of the receiver, than the worth of the gift or the selfish motive of the giver deserved, i ventured to ask mrs. graham for one more look at the picture, if it was still there.

'oh, yes! come in,' said she (for i had met them in the garden). 'it is finished and framed, all ready for sending away; but give me your last opinion, and if you can suggest any further improvement, it shall be - duly considered, at least.'

the picture was strikingly beautiful; it was the very scene itself, transferred as if by magic to the canvas; but i expressed my approbation in guarded terms, and few words, for fear of displeasing her. she, however, attentively watched my looks, and her artist's pride was gratified, no doubt, to read my heartfelt admiration in my eyes. but, while i gazed, i thought upon the book, and wondered how it was to be presented. my heart failed me; but i determined not to be such a fool as to come away without having made the attempt. it was useless waiting for an opportunity, and useless trying to concoct a speech for the occasion. the more plainly and naturally the thing was done, the better, i thought; so i just looked out of the window to screw up my courage, and then pulled out the book, turned round, and put it into her hand, with this short explanation:

'you were wishing to see 'marmion,' mrs. graham; and here it is, if you will be so kind as to take it.'

a momentary blush suffused her face - perhaps, a blush of sympathetic shame for such an awkward style of presentation: she gravely examined the volume on both sides; then silently turned over the leaves, knitting her brows the while, in serious cogitation; then closed the book, and turning from it to me, quietly asked the price of it - i felt the hot blood rush to my face.

'i'm sorry to offend you, mr. markham,' said she, 'but unless i pay for the book, i cannot take it.' and she laid it on the table.

'why cannot you?'

'because,' - she paused, and looked at the carpet.

'why cannot you?' i repeated, with a degree of irascibility that roused her to lift her eyes and look me steadily in the face.

'because i don't like to put myself under obligations that i can never repay - i am obliged to you already for your kindness to my son; but his grateful affection and your own good feelings must reward you for that.'

'nonsense!' ejaculated i.

she turned her eyes on me again, with a look of quiet, grave surprise, that had the effect of a rebuke, whether intended for such or not.

'then you won't take the book?' i asked, more mildly than i had yet spoken.

'i will gladly take it, if you will let me pay for it.' i told her the exact price, and the cost of the carriage besides, in as calm a tone as i could command - for, in fact, i was ready to weep with disappointment and vexation.

she produced her purse, and coolly counted out the money, but hesitated to put it into my hand. attentively regarding me, in a tone of soothing softness, she observed, - 'you think yourself insulted, mr markham - i wish i could make you understand that - that i - '

'i do understand you, perfectly,' i said. 'you think that if you were to accept that trifle from me now, i should presume upon it hereafter; but you are mistaken:- if you will only oblige me by taking it, believe me, i shall build no hopes upon it, and consider this no precedent for future favours:- and it is nonsense to talk about putting yourself under obligations to me when you must know that in such a case the obligation is entirely on my side, - the favour on yours.'

'well, then, i'll take you at your word,' she answered, with a most angelic smile, returning the odious money to her purse - 'but remember!'

'i will remember - what i have said; - but do not you punish my presumption by withdrawing your friendship entirely from me, - or expect me to atone for it by being more distant than before,' said i, extending my hand to take leave, for i was too much excited to remain.

'well, then! let us be as we were,' replied she, frankly placing her hand in mine; and while i held it there, i had much difficulty to refrain from pressing it to my lips; - but that would be suicidal madness: i had been bold enough already, and this premature offering had well-nigh given the death-blow to my hopes.

it was with an agitated, burning heart and brain that i hurried homewards, regardless of that scorching noonday sun - forgetful of everything but her i had just left - regretting nothing but her impenetrability, and my own precipitancy and want of tact - fearing nothing but her hateful resolution, and my inability to overcome it - hoping nothing - but halt, - i will not bore you with my conflicting hopes and fears - my serious cogitations and resolves.


the fascination

But best of all, the fascination of the People I’d Like to Know.  They pop up now and then in the shifting crowds, and are gone the next moment, leaving behind them a vague regret.  Sometimes I call them the People I’d Like to Know and sometimes I call them the People I Know I’d Like, but it means much the same.  Their faces flash by in the crowd, and are gone, but I recognize them instantly as belonging to my beloved circle of unknown friends.

Once it was a girl opposite me in a car ­a girl with a wide, humorous mouth, and tragic eyes, and a hole in her shoe.  Once it was a big, homely, red-headed giant of a man with an engineering magazine sticking out of his coat pocket.  He was standing at a book counter reading Dickens like a schoolboy and laughing in all the right places, I know, because I peaked over his shoulder to see.  Another time it was a sprightly little, grizzled old woman, staring into a dazzling shop window in which was displayed a wonderful collection of fashionably impossible hats and gowns.  She was dressed all in rusty black, was the little old lady, and she had a quaint cast in her left eye that gave her the oddest, most sporting look.  The cast was working overtime as she gazed at the gowns, and the ridiculous old sprigs on her rusty black bonnet trembled with her silent mirth.  She looked like one of those clever, epigrammatic, dowdy old duchesses that one reads about in English novels.  I’m sure she had cardamon seeds in her shabby bag, and a carriage with a crest on it waiting for her just around the corner.  I ached to slip my hand through her arm and ask her what she thought of it all.  I know that her reply would have been exquisitely witty and audacious, and I did so long to hear her say it.

No doubt some good angel tugs at my common sense, restraining me from doing these things that I am tempted to do.  Of course it would be madness for a woman to address unknown red-headed men with the look of an engineer about them and a book of Dickens in their hands; or perky old women with nutcracker faces; or girls with wide humorous mouths.  Oh, it couldn’t be done, I suppose.  They would clap me in a padded cell in no time if I were to say:

“Mister Red-headed Man, I’m so glad your heart is young enough for Dickens.  I love him too ­enough to read him standing at a book counter in a busy shop.  And do you know, I like the squareness of your jaw, and the way your eyes crinkle up when you laugh; and as for your being an engineer ­why one of the very first men I ever loved was the engineer in ‘Soldiers of Fortune.’”

I wonder what the girl in the car would have said if I had crossed over to her, and put my hand on her arm and spoken, thus:

“Girl with the wide, humorous mouth, and the tragic eyes, and the hole in your shoe, I think you must be an awfully good sort.  I’ll wager you paint, or write, or act, or do something clever like that for a living.  But from that hole in your shoe which you have inked so carefully, although it persists in showing white at the seams, I fancy you are stumbling over a rather stony bit of Life’s road just now.  And from the look in your eyes, girl, I’m afraid the stones have cut and bruised rather cruelly.  But when I look at your smiling, humorous mouth I know that you are trying to laugh at the hurts.  I think that this morning, when you inked your shoe for the dozenth time, you hesitated between tears and laughter, and the laugh won, thank God!  Please keep right on laughing, and don’t you dare stop for a minute!  Because pretty soon you’ll come to a smooth easy place, and then won’t you be glad that you didn’t give up to lie down by the roadside, weary of your hurts?”

Oh, it would never do.  Never.  And yet no charm possessed by the people I know and like can compare with the fascination of those People I’d Like to Know, and Know I Would Like.
everybody's tired of something

encounter at stonehenge

"the eternal problem of man," said sir richmond. "can our wills prevail?"

there came a little pause.

miss grammont smiled an enquiry at miss seyffert. "if you are," said belinda.

"i wish i could imagine your world," said miss grammont, rising, "of two hundred and fifty millions of fully developed human beings with room to live and breathe in and no need for wars. will they live in palaces? will they all be healthy? . . . machines will wait on them. no! i can't imagine it. perhaps i shall dream of it. my dreaming self may be cleverer."

she held out her hand to sir richmond. just for a moment they stood hand in hand, appreciatively. . . .

"well!" said dr. martineau, as the door closed behind the two americans, "this is a curious encounter."

"that young woman has brains," said sir richmond, standing before the fireplace. there was no doubt whatever which young woman he meant.

we heard the sound of a piano. prudence rang. the piano was silent. a woman who looked more like a companion than a servant opened the door. we went into the drawing-room, and from that to the boudoir, which was then just as you have seen it since. a young man was leaning against the mantel-piece. marguerite, seated at the piano, let her fingers wander over the notes, beginning scraps of music without finishing them. the whole scene breathed boredom, the man embarrassed by the consciousness of his nullity, the woman tired of her dismal visitor. at the voice of prudence, marguerite rose, and coming toward us with a look of gratitude to mme. duvernoy, said:

"come in, and welcome."

"ah, i remember," said marguerite, with a smile. "it was not you who were absurd; it was i who was mischievous, as i still am, but somewhat less. you have forgiven me?" and she held out her hand, which i kissed.

"it is true," she went on; "you know i have the bad habit of trying to embarrass people the first time i meet them. it is very stupid. my doctor says it is because i am nervous and always ill; believe my doctor."

"but you seem quite well."

"oh! i have been very ill."

"i know."

"who told you?"

"every one knew it; i often came to inquire after you, and i was happy to hear of your convalescence."

"they never gave me your card."

"i did not leave it."

"was it you, then, who called every day while i was ill, and would never leave your name?"

"yes, it was i."

"then you are more than indulgent, you are generous. you, count, wouldn't have done that," said she, turning toward m. de n., after giving me one of those looks in which women sum up their opinion of a man.

"i have only known you for two months," replied the count.

"and this gentleman only for five minutes. you always say something ridiculous."

women are pitiless toward those whom they do not care for. the count reddened and bit his lips.

i was sorry for him, for he seemed, like myself, to be in love, and the bitter frankness of marguerite must have made him very unhappy, especially in the presence of two strangers.

"you were playing the piano when we came in," i said, in order to change the conversation. "won't you be so good as to treat me as an old acquaintance and go on?"

"oh," said she, flinging herself on the sofa and motioning to us to sit down, "gaston knows what my music is like. it is all very well when i am alone with the count, but i won't inflict such a punishment on you."

"you show me that preference?" said m. de n., with a smile which he tried to render delicately ironical.

"don't reproach me for it. it is the only one." it was fated that the poor man was not to say a single word. he cast a really supplicating glance at marguerite.

"well, prudence," she went on, "have you done what i asked you to do?"


"all right. you will tell me about it later. we must talk over it; don't go before i can speak with you."

"we are doubtless intruders," i said, "and now that we, or rather i, have had a second introduction, to blot out the first, it is time for gaston and me to be going."

"not in the least. i didn't mean that for you. i want you to stay."

the count took a very elegant watch out of his pocket and looked at the time. "i must be going to my club," he said. marguerite did not answer. the count thereupon left his position by the fireplace and going up to her, said: "adieu, madame."

marguerite rose. "adieu, my dear count. are you going already?"

"yes, i fear i am boring you."

"you are not boring me to-day more than any other day. when shall i be seeing you?"

"when you permit me."

"good-bye, then."

it was cruel, you will admit. fortunately, the count had excellent manners and was very good-tempered. he merely kissed marguerite's hand, which she held out to him carelessly enough, and, bowing to us, went out.

as he crossed the threshold, he cast a glance at prudence. she shrugged her shoulders, as much as to say:

"what do you expect? i have done all i could."

"nanine!" cried marguerite. "light m. le comte to the door."

we heard the door open and shut.

"at last," cried marguerite, coming back, "he has gone! that man gets frightfully on my nerves!"

"my dear child," said prudence, "you really treat him too badly, and he is so good and kind to you. look at this watch on the mantel-piece, that he gave you: it must have cost him at least three thousand francs, i am sure."

and mme. duvernoy began to turn it over, as it lay on the mantel-piece, looking at it with covetous eyes.

"my dear," said marguerite, sitting down to the piano, "when i put on one side what he gives me and on the other what he says to me, it seems to me that he buys his visits very cheap."

"the poor fellow is in love with you."

"if i had to listen to everybody who was in love with me, i shouldn't have time for my dinner."

and she began to run her fingers over the piano, and then, turning to us, she said:

"what will you take? i think i should like a little punch."

"are you unwell, madame? you denied yourself to visitors."

"i am well, monsieur."

"perhaps you were going out?"

"not at all."

"you expected some one?"

"no one."

"if my visit is indiscreet you must blame monsieur le marquis. i had already accepted your mysterious denial, when he himself came up, and introduced me into the sanctuary."

"monsieur de listomere is not in my confidence on this point. it is not always prudent to put a husband in possession of certain secrets."

the firm and gentle tones in which the marquise said these words, and the imposing glance which she cast upon rastignac made him aware that he had posed in his cravat a trifle prematurely.

"madame, i understand you," he said, laughing. "i ought, therefore, to be doubly thankful that monsieur le marquis met me; he affords me an opportunity to offer you excuses which might be full of danger were you not kindness itself."

the marquise looked at the young man with an air of some surprise, but she answered with dignity:—

"monsieur, silence on your part will be the best excuse. as for me, i promise you entire forgetfulness, and the pardon which you scarcely deserve."