Friday, February 11, 2011

Tucked in with Some Reading

Sometimes nothing warms your heart quite like the cool dry wit of the English...

From The Last Stand of Major Pettigrew: A Novel  by Helen Simonson 

"Yes, she's been gone some six years now, " he said. "Funny really, it seems like both an eternity and the blink of an eye all at the same time."
"It is very dislocating," she said. Her crisp enunciation, so lacking among many of his village neighbors, struck him with the purity of a well-tuned bell. '"Sometimes my husband feels as close to me as you are now, and sometimes I am quite alone in the universe," she added.

America wielded her huge power in the world with a brash confidence that reminded him of a toddler who has got hold of a hammer.

"Look here, it's all very tidy and convenient to see the world in black and white," said the Major, trying to soften his tone slightly. "It's a particular passion of young men eager to sweep away their dusty elders." He stopped to organize his thoughts into some statement short enough for a youthful attention span. "However, philosophical rigidity is usually combined with a complete lack of education or real-world experience, and it is often augmented with strange haircuts and an aversion to bathing. Not in your case, of course-you are very neat.'"
"You are very strange," he said. "Are you saying it is wrong, stupid to try to live a life of faith?"
"No, I think it is admirable," said the Major. "But I think a life of faith must start with remembering that humility is the first virtue before God."

"But I must ask you, do you really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?" "My dear boy," said the Major. "Is there really any other kind?"

Dancing, the Major thought, was a strange thing. He had forgotten how this vaguely pleasant exercise and social obligation could become something electric when the right woman stepped into his arms. Now he could understand why the waltz had once been as frowned upon as the wild gyrations that today's young people called dance. He felt that he existed only in the gliding circle they made, parting the other dancers like water. There was no room beyond her smiling eyes; there were no people beyond the two of them. He felt the small of her back and her smooth palm under his hands and his body felt a charge that made him stand taller and spin faster than he would have ever thought possible.

"I have no idea what I hope to accomplish. I only know that I must try to see her. That's what love is about, Roger. It's when a woman drives all lucid thought from your head; when you are unable to contrive romantic stratagems, and the usual manipulations fail you; when all your carefully laid plans have no meaning and all you can do is stand mute in her presence. You hope she takes pity on you and drops a few words of kindness into the vacuum of your mind." 

I love this book.

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