Thursday, January 25, 2007

Archive of the Day

From Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh:
“Oh, why did nobody warn me?” cried Grimes in his agony. “I should have been told. They should have told me in so many words. They should have warned me about Flossie, not about the fires of hell. I’ve risked them, and I don’t mind risking them again, but they should have told me about marriage. They should have told me that at the end of that gay journey and flower-strewn path were the hideous lights of home and the voices of children. I should have been warned of the great lavender-scented bed that was laid out for me, of the wisteria at the windows, of all intimacy and confidence of family life. But I daresay I shouldn’t have listened. Our life is lived between two homes. We emerge for a little into the light, and then the front door closes. The chintz curtains shut out the sun, and the hearth glows with the fire of home, while upstairs, above our heads, are enacted again the awful accidents of adolescence. There’s a home and family waiting for every one of us. We can’t escape, try how we may. It’s the seed of life we carry about with us like our skeletons, each one of us unconsciously pregnant with desirable villa residences. There’s no escape. As individuals we simply do not exist. We are just potential home builders, beavers and ants. How do we come into being? What is birth?”

“I’ve often wondered,” said Mr. Prendergast.

“What is this impulse of two people to build their beastly home? It’s you and me, unborn, asserting our presence. All we are is a manifestation of the impulse of family life, and if by chance we have escaped the itch ourselves, Nature forces it upon us another way. Flossie’s got that itch enough for two. I just haven’t. I’m one of the blind alleys off the main road of procreation, but it doesn’t matter. Nature always wins. Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord! Why didn’t I die in that first awful home? Why did I ever hope I could escape?”

Captain Grimes continued his lament for some time in deep bitterness of heart. Presently he became silent and stared at his glass.

“I wonder,” said Mr. Prendergast, “I wonder whether I could have just a little more of this very excellent pheasant?”

“Anyway,” said Grimes, “there shan’t be any children; I’ll see to that.”


Blogger Fox said...

Aren't we just the pawns of evolution! Do you think you can just skip lightly away from the selfish gene? It takes a mighty will to resist the call. Just look into the eyes of the Grandma's of the world. Your paltry excuses mean nothing then!

10:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home