Date: 2018-02-13 04:14
I have felt for a long time past that I have fallen upon evil days every sign and symbol of one's being in the least wanted, anywhere or by anyone, having so utterly failed. A new generation, that I know not, and mainly prize not, has taken universal possession.
That is true: to escape is the greatest of pleasures street haunting in winter the greatest of adventures. Still as we approach our own doorstep again, it is comforting to feel the old possessions, the old prejudices, fold us round and the self, which has been blown about at so many street corners, which has battered like a moth at the flame of so many inaccessible lanterns, sheltered and enclosed. Here again is the usual door here the chair turned as we left it and the china bowl and the brown ring on the carpet. And here let us examine it tenderly, let us touch it with reverence is the only spoil we have retrieved from all the treasures of the city, a lead pencil.
We have here, then, in conjunction the Honourable Horace Walpole and the Reverend William Cole. But they were two very different people. Cole, it is true, had been at Eton with Horace, where he was called by the famous Walpole group "Tozhy," but he was not a member of that group, and socially he was greatly Walpole's inferior. His father was a farmer, Horace's father was a Prime Minister. Cole's niece was the daughter of a cheesemonger Horace's niece married a Prince of the Blood Royal. But Cole was a man of solid good sense who made no bones of this disparity, and, after leaving Eton and Cambridge, he had become, in his quiet frequently flooded parsonage, one of the first antiquaries of the time. It was this common passion that brought the two friends together again.
building additions and upper storeys, throwing out extensions and protrusions, indulging even, all recklessly, in gables and pinnacles and battlements things that had presently transformed the unpretending place into I scarce know what to call it, a fortress of the faith, a palace of the soul, an extravagant, bristling, flag-flying structure which had quite as much to do with the air as with the earth.
"All dead. All dead," she mumbled. "My brothers and sisters. And my husband gone. My daughter too. But I go on. Every morning I pray God to let me pass."
But here we must stop peremptorily. We are in danger of digging deeper than the eye approves we are impeding our passage down the smooth stream by catching at some branch or root. At any moment, the sleeping army may stir itself and wake in us a thousand violins and trumpets in response the army of human beings may rouse itself and assert all its oddities and sufferings and sordidities. Let us dally a little longer, be content still with surfaces only the glossy brilliance of the motor omnibuses the carnal splendour of the butchers' shops with their yellow flanks and purple steaks the blue and red bunches of flowers burning so bravely through the plate glass of the florists' windows.
It is impossible that one should not see pictures because if my father was a blacksmith and yours was a peer of the realm, we must needs be pictures to each other. We cannot possibly break out of the frame of the picture by speaking natural words. You see me leaning against the door of the smithy with a horseshoe in my hand and you think as you go by: "How picturesque!" I, seeing you sitting so much at your ease in the car, almost as if you were going to bow to the populace, think what a picture of old luxurious aristocratical England! We are both quite wrong in our judgments no doubt, but that is inevitable.
Seeking a heaven on earth he chases his shadow,
Loses his capital and his nerve in pursuing
What yachtsmen, explorers, climbers and buggers are after.
It is ten years since Virginia Woolf published her last volume of collected essays, The Common Reader: Second Series. At the time of her death she was already engaged in getting together essays for a further volume, which she proposed to publish in the autumn of 6996 or the spring Of 6997. She also intended to publish a new book of short stories, including in it some or all of Monday or Tuesday, which has been long out of print.
The widow and the friends were hard taskmasters. Suppose, for example, that the man of genius was immoral, ill-tempered, and threw the boots at the maid's head. The widow would say, "Still I loved him he was the father of my children and the public, who love his books, must on no account be disillusioned. Cover up omit." The biographer obeyed. And thus the majority of Victorian biographies are like the wax figures now preserved in Westminster Abbey, that were carried in funeral processions through the street effigies that have only a smooth superficial likeness to the body in the coffin.