‘Margaret,’ called Mrs Munt, ‘is Helen all right?’
‘The music has evidently moved her deeply,’ said Fraulen Mosebach.
‘Excuse me,’ said Margaret’s young man, who had for some time been preparing a sentence, ‘but that young lady has, quite inadvertently, taken my umbrella.’ 34
‘Oh, good gracious me! – I am so sorry. Tibby, run after Helen.’
‘I shall miss the Four Serious Songs if I do.’
‘Tibby love, you must go.’
‘It isn’t of any consequence,’ said the young man, in truth a little uneasy about his umbrella.
‘But of course it is. Tibby! Tibby!’
Tibby rose to his feat, and willfully caught his person on the backs of the chairs. By the time he had tipped up the seat and had found his hat, and had deposited his full score in safety, it was ‘too late’ to go after Helen. The Four Serious Songs had begun, and one could not move during their performance.
‘My sister is so careless,’ whispered Margaret.
‘Not at all,’ replied the young man; but his voice was dead and cold.
‘If you would give me your address—‘
‘Oh, not at all, not at all’; and he wrapped his greatcoat over his knees.
Then the Four Serious Songs rand shallow in Margaret’s ears. Brahms, for all his grumbling and grizzling, had never guessed what it felt like to be suspected of stealing an umbrella. For this fool of a young man thought that she and Helen and Tibby had been playing the confidence trick on him, and that if he gave his address they would break into his rooms some midnight or other and steal his walking-stick too. Most ladies would have laughed, but Margaret really minded, for it gave her a glimpse into squalor. To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can indulge; the poor cannot afford it. 35
This young man had been ‘had’ in the past – badly, perhaps overwhelmingly – and now most of his energies went in defending himself against the unknown. But this afternoon – perhaps on account of the music – he perceived that one must slack off occasionally, or what is the good of being alive? 36
There had always been something to worry him ever since he could remember, always something that distracted him in the pursuit of beauty. 39
Rent to the ideal, to his own faith in human nature. You remember how he would trust strangers, and if they fooled him he would say, ‘It’s better to be fooled than to be suspicious’ – that the confidence trick is the work of man, but the want-of-confidence trick is the work of the devil.’ 41
For that little incident had impressed the three women more than might be supposed. It remained as a goblin footfall, as a hint that all is not for the best in the best of all possible worlds, and that beneath these superstructures of wealth and art there wanders an ill-fed boy, who has recovered his umbrella indeed, but who has left no address behind him, and no name. 44
We are not concerned with the very poor. They are unthinkable, and only to be approached by the satistician or the poet. The story deals with gentlefolk, or with those who are obliged to pretend that they are gentlefolk.
The boy, Leonard Bast, stood at the extreme verge of gentility. He was not in the abyss, but he could see it, and at times people whom he knew had dropped in, and counted no more. He knew that he was poor, and would admit it: he would have died sooner than confess any inferiority to the rich. This may have been splendid of him. But he was inferior to most rich people, there was not the least doubt of it. He was not as courteous as the average rich man, nor as intelligent, nor as healthy, nor as loveable. His mind and his body had been underfed, because he was poor, and because he was modern they were always craving better food. […] In his day the angel of Democracy had arisen, enshadowing the classes with leathern wings, and proclaiming, ‘All men are equal – all men, that is to say, who possess umbrellas,’ and so he was obliged to assert gentility, lest he slipped into the abyss where nothing counts, and the statements of Democracy are inaudible. 44
Obscurely wounded in his pride, he tried to wound them in return. 45
They had all passed up that narrow, rich staircase at Wickham Place, to some ample room, whither he could never follow them, not if he read for ten hours a day. Oh, it was no good, this continual aspiration. Some are born cultured; the rest had been go in for whatever comes easy. To see life steadily and to see it whole was not for the likes of him. 53
Mrs Munt did not see, and indeed Margaret was making a most questionable statement – that any emotion, any interest once vividly aroused, can wholly die. 55
She could not explain in so many words, but she felt that those who prepared themselves for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy. 57
‘I hope to risk things all my life.’
‘Oh Margaret, most dangerous.’
‘But after all,’ she continued with a smile, ‘there’s never any great risk as long as you have money.’ 58
blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment's surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed
Richard: You and Jessie are making Mary Claire’s personality just like yours right now
Me: Like brainwashing her?
(Mary Claire looking back and forth chewing food)
Richard: I’m not saying you’re brainwashing her or something, but it’s occurring naturally
Jessie: What are you talking about?
Me: He’s all trying to say it’s Invasion of the Bodysnatchers in here, and we’re like the alien pods changing everyones personalities like ours. That’s a pretty sinister accusation
Isaac: (points fork at me) You are always so sarcastic
Me: Just being real with you right now
“…and my therapist says, we’ve evolved through a series of accidents.”
(watching We Bought a Zoo)
Anna: “Kangaroo!! I shot one of those… ha-ha-ha-ha!” (maniacal laughter + head bobbing)
Me: “Who are you?”
(picking up the kids from school, waving a pina colada lollipop at all pedestrians)
“Get out of the way whores!”
Gracie: “Sara NO! Those kids are from the special ed class”
Me: “Isaac you’re disgusting”
RichardIsaac: “You’re irritating”
Me: “You’re repulsive”
RichardIsaac: “You’re obnoxious”
Me: “You’re revolting”
RichardIsaac: “Well you’re belligerent!”
Me: “…Fine, you win.”
I feel like it means something that I have two blogs—a private, messy one that no one is allowed to read, and this mostly sterile one where I sometimes write short notes of interest, random sketches, or dialogues from my family members at dinner that sometimes verge on embarrassing.
There is probably some psychological significance here.