Archive for August, 2010


Of course Cora was a rather unbalanced and excessively stupid woman,  nd she had been noted, even as a girl, for the embarrassing manner in  which she had blurted out unwelcome truths. At least, he didn’t mean truths–that was quite the wrong word to use. Awkward statements–that was a much better term.

Cora’s unfortunate gaffe had been forgotten. After all,

Cora had always been, if not subnormal, at any rate embarrassingly naive. She had never had any idea of what should

or should not be said. At nineteen it had not mattered so

much. The mannerisms of an enfant terrible can persist to

then, but an enfant terrible of nearly fifty is decidedly disconcerting.

To blurt out unwelcome truths– Mr. Entwhistle’s train of thought came to an abrupt check.It was the second time that that disturbing word had occurred. Truths. And why was it so disturbing ? because, of course,that had always been at the bottom of the embarrassment that Cora’s outspoken comments had caused. It was because her ave statements had been either true or had contained some grain of truth that they had been so embarrassing.

Well, the doctor had been wrong–but doctors, as they were

the first to admit themselves, could never be sure about the

individual reaction of a patient to disease. Cases given up,

unexpectedly recovered. Patients on the way to recovery,

relapsed and died. So much depended on the vitality of the

patient. On his own inner urge to live.

It made her sad to think of that, but she pushed the sadness aside

resolutely. It did one no good to dwell on the past.

A large umber of Wives with matrimonial troubles

had passed through the office of Bollard, Entwhistle, Entwhistle

and Bollard. Wives madly devoted to unsatisfactory and

often what appeared quite unprepossessing husbands, wives

contemptuous of, and bored by, apparently attractive and

impeccable husbands. What any woman saw in some particular

man was beyond the comprehension of the average intelligent

male. It just was so. A woman who could be intelligent

about everything else in the world could be a complete fool

when it came to some particular man.

At my age the chief pleasure, almost the only pleasure that still remains, is the pleasure of the table.Mercifully I have an excellent stomach.”

She had character, you see, and character is always highly individual.”

“Women are never kind,” remarked Poirot. “Though they

can sometimes be tender.

‘ Women can be fools in ninety-nine different ways but be pretty shrewd in the hundredth. Oh yes, and he said, ‘

A woman of very exceptional character, She mayhave had certain–what shall I say ?–reticences in her life.

“It’s not your place to say anything of that kind–that’s what you really mean. But there are times when one has to do violence to one’s sense of what is fitting.

“Don’t think. That is the wrong way to bring anything back. Let it go. Sooner or later it will flash into your mind. And when it does-let me know–at once.”

It was true that Miss Gilchrist did not benefit from Cora Lansquenet’s death but who was to know that ? And  besides, there were so many tales—ugly tales-of animOSity arising between women who lived together–strange pathological motives for sudden violence.

“A funeral has always been a recognised excuse for absenteeism. And this funeral is indubitably genuine. Besides,a murder always fascinates people.

“Oh no, it’s not. Perhaps your generation doesn’t do it.

Young ladies nowadays mayn’t se so much store on getting married. But it is an old custom. Put a piece of wedding cake under your pillow and you’ll dream of your future husband.”

“I sent the boys out. They do what they can–good ladsgood lads all of them, but not what they used to be in the old days. They don’t come that way nowadays. Not willing to learn, that’s what it is. Think they know everything after they’ve only been a couple of years on the job. And they work to time. Shocking the way they work to time.”

“And all this education racket. It gives them ideas. They come back and tell us what they think. They can’t think, most of them, anyway. All they know is things out of books., That’s ,n,o good in our business. Bring in the answers–that s all that s needed—no thinking.”

Never shall I forget the killing of

Lord Edgware. I was nearly defeated–yes, I, Hercule

Poirot–by the extremely simple cunning of a vacant brain. The very simple minded have often the genius to commit an uncomplicated crime and then leave it alone. Let us hope that our murderer–if there is a murderer in this affair—is intelligent and superior and thoroughly pleased with himself and unable to resist painting the Iffy.


devoted to her husband, treats him like a child. “Yes, yes, the maternal complex.”

Always thinking of something new they were, these doctors.

Look at them telling old Rogers he had a disc or some such

in his spine. Plain lumbago, that was all that was the matter

with him. Her father had been a gardener and he’d suffered

from lumbago.

Oh l it is true enough–it is an old maxim–everyone has something to hide. It is true of all of us–it is perhaps true of you, too, Madame. But I say to you, nothing can be ignored.

“How clever of you. I suppose backs are distinctive.” “Much more so than faces. Add a beard and pads in your cheeks and do a few things to your hair and nobody will know you when you come face to face with them–but beware of the moment when you walk away.”

George looked at his cousin appreciatively, lie admired the slanting planes of her face, the generous mouth, the radiant colouring. Altogether an unusual and vivid face. And he recognised in Susan that odd, indefinable quality, the quality of success.

As a cousin

he did not mind being spiteful, but he had an uneasy sense

that Susan’s feeling for her husband was a thing to be treated

with care. It had all the qualities of a dangerous explosive.

“You forget that I’m a lawyer. I see a lot of the queer,illogical side of people.

“Nothing. I only want you to be—careful, ,,Mick.” “Careful about what ? I’m always careful. -. “No,I don’t think you are. You alway thnk you can get away with things and that everyone will elieve.wha-teve, r,

you want them to.

“Things aren’t over when you’ve done them. It’s really a sort of beginning and then one’s got to arrange what to do

next, and what’s important and what is not.”

There was a quality of passive resistance about her that seemed unexpectedly strong.Had she, while apparently graceful and unconcerned, managed to impress her own reluctance upon him ?

For Hercule Poirot had a lifetime of experience behind him, and as a man who deals with pictures can recognize the artist, so Poirot believed he could recognize a likely type of the amateur criminal who will–if his own particular need arises be prepared to kill.

He had used his eyes and his ears. He had watched and listened–openly and behind doors! He had noticed affinities, antagonisms, the unguarded words that arose as always when property was to be divided. He had

engineered adroitly tte–ttes, walks upon the terrace, and

had made his deductions and observations.

“But you are a realist, Madame. Let us admit without more ado

that the world is full of the young–or even the middle-aged–who wait,

patiently or impatiently, for the death of someone whose decease will give them if not affluence –then opportunity.”

How averse human beings were ever to admit ignorance!

. More or less forgotten by all, Hercule Poirot leant back in his chair, sipped his coffee and observed, as a cat may observe, the twitterings, and comings and goings of a flock of birds. The cat is not ready yet to make its spring.

“Rather a shame to bait old Timothy,” he said. “But he really is quite unbelievable. He’s had his own way in every-thing so iong that he’s become quite pathological about it.”

“The truth is,” said George, “that one very seldom looks

properly at anyone. That’s why one gets such wildly differing

accounts of a person from different witnesses in court. You’d

be surprised. A man is often described as tall–short; thin

–stout; fair–dark; dressed in a dark–light–suit; and so

on. There’s usually one reliable observer, but one has to make

up one’s mind who that is.”

“Another queer thing,” said Susan,” is that you sometimes

catch sight of yourself in a mirror unexpectedly and don’t

know who it is. It,just looks vaguely familiar. And you say

to yourself, ‘That s somebody I know quite well.., and

then suddenly realise it’s yourself”

George said: “It would be more difficult still if you could

really see yourself—and not a mirror image.”

“Why ?” asked Rosamund, looking puzzled.

“Because, don’t you see, nobody ever sees themselves–as

they appear to other people. They always see themselves in a

glass–that is–as a reversed image.”

“She is of the generation that rises early,” said Poirot

nodding his head. “The younger ones, now they do not get

up so early ?”

fav Matthew Arnold Quotes

This strange disease of modern life, With its sick hurry, its divided aims.

We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I do not know.

Joy comes and goes, hope ebbs and flows Like the wave; Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men. Love tends life a little grace, A few sad smiles; and then, Both are laid in one cold place, In the grave.

The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.

With women the heart argues, not the mind.

The difference between genuine poetry and the poetry of Dryden, Pope, and all their school, is briefly this: their poetry is conceived and composed in their wits, genuine poetry is conceived and composed in the soul.

Journalism is literature in a hurry.

Truth sits upon the lips of dying men.

The true meaning of religion is thus not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.

[Oxford] Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs and unpopular names and impossible loyalties.

The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.

Piet mondrian – YSL

Wud love to own a ysl-mondrian dress someday- unique blend of  art and fashion


Want to read – lovely bones, who am I , eat pray love , me talk pretty one day , poisonwood bible , on the road-kerouac , secret life bees , veronica decides to die , whr the sidewalk ends, shopaholic , 5 pplheaven , curious incident of dog in ,p and p


books read thus far :Bridges   of mc, misalliance , memory box , sher ,and then there were   , autobio yogi , parallel lies ,far from,razor’s,   geisha ,   alchemist , oliver twist ,fountainhead ,  atlas shrugged  ,to kill mock.,  100 yrs -solitude  , anna Karenina , pic dorian,         jane eyre,   scarlet letter,   tale of 2 cit ,   alchemist , david copper , gr8 expect ,  wuthering hts  etc.         etc…………..

peril at end house

read at one go yesterday night…………now that i remember ,  maybe that’s the reason i had a gud night’s sleep and woke up happy ?!    many twists and turns……….suspected nick at one point due to the  ‘ old nick-young nick thing ‘  –  u know christie’s predilection for  ” evil streak  running  in the family ” ….but with the box of chocolates ……….i ruled her out .ok  , here go the excerpts………..

No seaside town in the south of England is, I think, as attractive as St. Loo. It is well named the Queen of Watering Places and  reminds one forcibly of the Riviera. The Cor-nish coast is to my mind every bit as fasci-nating as that of the south of France.

And for the English I have always had, as you know, a great admiration.

She impressed me, I think, as the most tired person I had ever met. Tired in mind, not in body, as though she had found everything in the world to be empty and valueless.

“She’s one of my oldest friends,” she said, “and I always think loyalty’s such a tiresome virtue, don’t you? Principally practiced by the Scotch like thrift and keeping the Sab-bath.

“Possibly. It is an interesting subject of after-dinner conversation are all criminals really madmen? There may be a malformation in their grey cells yes, it is very likely. That, it is the affair of the doctor. For me I have different work to perform. I have the innocent to think of, not the guilty the victim, not the criminal. It is you I am considering, Mademoiselle, not your unknown assailant. You are young and beautiful, and the sun shines and the world is pleasant, and there is life and love ahead of you. It is all that of which I think, Mademoiselle.

“Lonely? What a funny idea. I’m not down here much, you know. I’m usually in  London.Relations are too devastating as a rule. They fuss and interfere. It’s much more fun to be on one’s own.”

la recherche des elephants’

Nom d’un petit bonhomme – name of a matchstick

“As one journeys through life,” said Poirot, “one finds more and more that people are often interested in things that are none of their own business. Even more so than they are in things that could be considered as their own business.”

A fairly imperious woman. Would have her way. Intelligent, intellectual, satisfied, he thought, with life as she  had lived it, enjoying the pleasures and suffering the sorrows life brings.

I believe that it is fairly well recognized by the medical profession that identical twins are born either with a great bond between them, a great likeness in their characters which means that although they may be divided in their environment, where they are brought up, the same things will happen to them at the same time of life. They will take the same trend. Some of the cases quoted as medical examples seem quite extraordinary.Two sisters, one living in Europe, one, say, in France, the other in England, they have a dog of the same kind which they choose at about the same date. They marry men singularly alike. They give birth perhaps to a child almost within a month of each other. It is as though they have to follow the pattern wherever they are and without knowing what the other one is doing. Then there is the opposite to that. A kind of revulsion, a hatred almost, that makes one sister draw apart, or one brother reject the other as though they seek to get away from the sameness, the likeness, the knowledge, the things they have in common. And that can lead to very strange results.”

“I know,” said Poirot, “I have heard of it. I have seen it

once or twice. Love can turn to hate very easily. It is easier to

hate where you have loved than it is to be indifferent where

you have loved.”

I am thinking of the girl, Celia. A rebellious girl, spirited, difficult perhaps to manage but with brains, a good mind, capable of happiness, capable of courage, but needing—there are people who need—truth. Because they can face truth without dismay. They can face it with that brave acceptance that you have to have in life if life is to be any good to you.

The Burden -3

“No. My views in the main are unchanged. I dislike seeing God put on a commercial basis.”

“Even by a commercial people in a commercial age? Do we not always bring to God the fruits in season?”een the two men there was already a curious sense of intimacy which had, indeed, existed from the first moment of their meeting. It was as though the fact that neither of them had anything in common with the other-nationality, upbringing, way of life, beliefs-made them therefore ready to accept each other without the usual barriers of reticence or conventionality. They were like men marooned together on a desert island, or afloat on a raft for an indefinite period. They could speak to each other frankly, almost with the simplicity of children.

He was a good talker, with a wide range of subjects. Not only had he travelled extensively, and in many unknown parts of the globe, but he had the gift of making all he himself had seen and experienced equally real to the person who was listening to him.

If you wanted to go to the Gobi Desert, or to the Fezzan, or to Samarkand, when you had talked of those places with Richard Wilding, you had been there.

It was not that he lectured, or in any way held forth. His conversation was natural and spontaneous.

Quite apart from his enjoyment of Wilding’s talk, Llewellyn found himself increasingly interested by the personality of the man himself. His charm and magnetism were undeniable, and they were also, so Llewellyn judged, entirely unself-conscious. Wilding was.not exerting himself to radiate charm; it was natural to him. He was a man of parts, too, shrewd, intellectual without arrogance, a man with a vivid interest in ideas and people as well as in places. If he had chosen to specialise in some particular subject-but that, perhaps, was his secret: he never had so chosen, and never would. That left him human, warm, and essentially approachable.

And yet, it seemed to Llewellyn, he had not quite answered his own question-a question as simple as that put by a child. “Why do I like this man so much?”

The answer was not in Wilding’s gifts. It was something in the man himself.

And suddenly, it seemed to Llewellyn, he got it. It was because, with all his gifts, the man himself was fallible. He was a man who could, who would, again and again prove himself mistaken. He had one of those warm, kindly emotional natures that invariably meet rebuffs because of their untrustworthiness in making judgments.

Here was no clear, cool, logical appraisal of men and things; instead there were warm-hearted impulsive beliefs, mainly in people, which were doomed to disaster because they were based on kindliness always rather than on fact. Yes, the man was fallible, and being fallible, he was also lovable. Here, thought Llewellyn, is someone whom I should hate to hurt.

They were back again now in the library, stretched out in two big arm-chairs. A wood fire had been lit, more to convey the sense, of a hearth, than because it was needed. Outside the sea murmured, and the scent of some nightbloom.

“Not from you. You wonder about your fellow human beings because you care for them and are therefore interested in them.”

“Yes, that’s true.” He paused. Then he said: “If one can help a fellow human being, that seems to me the most worthwhile thing in the world.”

“If,” said Llewellyn.

The other looked at him sharply.

“That seems oddly sceptical, coming from you.”

“No, it’s only a recognition of the enormous difficulty of what you propose.”

“Is it so difficult? Human beings want to be helped.”

“Yes, we all tend to believe that in some magical manner others can attain for us what we can’t-or don’t want to-attain for ourselves.”

“Sympathy-and belief,” said Wilding earnestly. “To believe the best of someone is to call the best into being. People respond to one’s belief in them. I’ve found that again and again.”

“For how long?”

Wilding winced, as though something had touched a sore place in him.

“You can guide a child’s hand on the paper, but when you take your hand away the child still has to learn to write himself. Your action may, indeed, have delayed the process.”

“Are you trying to destroy my belief in human nature?”

Llewellyn smiled as he said:

“I think I’m asking you to have pity on human nature.”

“To encourage people to give of their best-“

“Is forcing them to live at a very high altitude; to keep up being what someone expects you to be is to live under a great strain. Too great a strain leads eventually to collapse.”

“Must one then expect the worst of people?” asked Wilding satirically.

“One should recognise that probability.”

‘Be still and know that I am God.’

Behind the normal fac,ade of daily life, a fear, a dread of something that he himself did not understand. He was more conscious of this fear when he was alone, and he had, therefore, thrown himself eagerly into community life.

“I don’t know really-anything about myself.”

He knew now that something he had always known would happen was about to happen. He knew fear again, but not the fear he had felt before, that had been the fear of resistance. This time he was ready to accept-there was emptiness within him, swept and garnished, ready to receive a Presence. He was afraid only because in all humility he knew what a small and insignificant entity he was.

It was not easy to explain to Wilding what came next.

“Because, you see, there aren’t any words for it. But I’m quite clear as to what it was. It was the recognition of God. I can express if best by saying that it was as though a blind man who believed in the sun from literary evidence, and who had felt its warmth on his hand, was suddenly to open his eyes and see it.

“I had believed in God, but now I knew. It was direct personal knowledge, quite indescribable. And a most terrifying experience for any human being.

I understood then why, in God’s approach to man, He has to incarnate Himself in human flesh.

“I didn’t know what I was going to say. I didn’t think-or expound my own beliefs. The words were there in my head. Sometimes they got ahead of me, I had to speak faster to catch up, to say them before I lost them. I can’t describe to you what it was like-if I said it was like flame and like honey, would you understand at all? The flame seared me, but the sweetness of the honey was there too, the sweetness of obedience. It is both a terrible and a lovely thing to be the messenger of God.”

“Man cannot be trusted with power. It rots him-from within. How much longer could I have gone on without the taint creeping in? I suspect that already it had begun to work. Those moments when I spoke to those vast crowds of people-wasn’t I beginning to assume that it was I who was speaking, I who was giving them a message, I who knew just what they should or should not do, I who was no longer just God’s messenger, but God’s representative? You see? Promoted to Vizier, exalted, a man set above other men!” He added quietly: “God in His goodness has seen fit to save me from that.”

There is no doubt Christie is a master in the study of human nature – she is an observer , not a judge , of human nature and is mature enough to be aware of its imperfections . the reader herself becomes aware of christie’s genius when she reads her poirot or marple series ……… first you read it because of you are fan of mysteries and whodunits ( I wonder who is not ) but as u read a series of them in succession …….u realize that though  Christie doesn’t always succeed as well as conan doyle does with holmes ,  in creating a gr8 suspense , u  realize , as I said as u progress in ur study of christie’s prolific  literature that she is a master story teller  and I repeat a master in the study of human nature . so it’s no wonder that she has written a string of novels on the subject indicating her knowledge of it . I read ‘absent in the spring’ a long time back and now ‘the burden’ and as mary westmacott there’s always a bit of tragedy or sadness in her novels………………… but as human as we are , it is our tendency to hope that even if all’s not well in the beginning , it will end well in the end , so we may be left with a tinge of sadness in the end . although her profound observations in the subject gives one second-hand experience of life (good fiction always does)which triumphs over the  negative emotions.

So coming to ‘the burden’ the first half is fine ………no complaints whatsoever and the chapter introducing knox is excellent……..especially his childhood and the emphasis on following the human instinct…………………all this I’m afraid raises the expectation of the ending……which  didn’t satisfy me at all. Even in the case of laura – who we sympathise with from the beginning  and hope a happy ending for,Christie  disappoints in the end . I totally buy ac’s explanation for laura’s murder of henry………………but why make Shirley pay for it. But  the actual tragedy is that Wilding is the one who really pays for it , though Shirley has suffered on account of henry and laura…….it is no excuse to inflicther pain upon Wilding who has suffered as much in the case of his first wife , still retainng his sympathetic disposition . why does christie deny Wilding And Shirley  , both of whom suffered on account of their first spouses a chance at happiness ???? ao in the end it is hard to feel as happy as we would really like to for Laura and Llewellyn , as as it is equally hard to believe that laura would be really happy when  she knows in the end, that Shirley might have committed suicide out of unhappiness …………………………………….

“Laura’s a dear child, of course, but rather a dull child.” And she had accepted the justice of that with the honesty of the hopeless.She was small and pale and her hair didn’t curl, and the things she said never made people laugh-as they laughed at Charles. She was good and obedient and caused nobody trouble, but she was not and, she thought, never would be, important.

“A dog,” said Mr. Baldock, in his lecture-room style, which was capable of rousing almost anybody to violent irritation, “has an extraordinary power of bolstering up the human ego. To a dog, the human being who owns him is a god to be worshipped, and not only worshipped but, in our present decadent state of civilisation, also loved.

“The trouble about the second child,” said Mr. Baldock didactically, “is that it’s usually an anti-climax. The first child’s an adventure. It’s frightening and it’s painful; the woman’s sure she’s going to die, and the husband (Arthur here, for example) is equally sure you’re going to die. After it’s all over, there you are with a small morsel of animate flesh yelling its head off, which has caused two people all kinds of hell to produce!  Naturally they value it accordingly! It’s new, it’s ours, it’s wonderful! And then, usually rather too soon, Number Two comes along-all the caboodle over again-not so frightening this time, much more boring. And there it is, it’s yours, but it’s not a new experience, and since it hasn’t cost you so much, it isn’t nearly so wonderful.””Bachelors know everything,” she murmured ironically. “And isn’t that equally true of Number Three and Number Four and all the rest of them?””Not quite. I’ve noticed that there’s usually a gap  before Number Three. Number Three is often produced because the other two are getting independent, and it would be ‘nice to have a baby in the nursery again.’ Curious taste; revolting little creatures, but biologically a sound instinct, I suppose. And so they go on, some nice and some nasty, and some bright and some dull, but they pair off and pal up more or less, and finally comes the afterthought which like the first-born gets an undue share of attention.”

Laura was elated and excited. Mr. Baldock, who had a Chair at the University fourteen miles away, had a small cottage in the village where he spent the vacations and occasional week-ends. He declined to behave in a social manner, and affronted Bellbury by refusing, usually impolitely, their many invitations. Arthur Franklin was his only friend-it was a friendship of many years standing. John Baldock was not a friendly man. He treated his pupils with such ruthlessness and irony that the best of them were goaded into distinguishing themselves, and the rest perished by the wayside. He had written several large and abstruse volumes on obscure phases of history, written in such a way that very few people could understand what he was driving at. Mild appeals from his publishers to write in a more readable fashion were turned down with a savage glee, Mr. Baldock pointing out that the people who could appreciate his books were the only readers of them who were worthwhile! He was particularly rude to women, which enchanted many of them so much that they were always coming back for more. A man of savage prejudices, and over-riding arrogance, he had an unexpectedly kindly heart which was always betraying his principles.

“Children and one’s social inferiors never know when to say good-bye. One has to say it for them.”

. “How do you read a book? Begin at the beginning and go right through?”

“Yes. Don’t you?”

“No,” said Mr. Baldock. “I take a look at the start, get some idea of what it’s all about, then I go on to the end and see where the fellow has got to, and what he’s been trying to prove. And then, then I go back and see how he’s got there and what’s made him land up where he did. Much more interesting.”

Laura looked interested but disapproving.

“I don’t think that’s the way the author meant his book to be read,” she said.

“Of course he didn’t.”

“I think you should read the book the way the author meant.”

“Ah,” said Mr. Baldock. “But you’re forgetting the party of the second part, as the blasted lawyers put it. There’s the reader. The reader’s got his rights, too. The author writes his book the way he likes. Has it all his own way. Messes up the punctuation and fools around with the sense any way he pleases. And the reader reads the book the way he wants to read it, and the author can’t stop him.”

“You make it sound like a battle,” said Laura.

“I like battles,” said Mr. Baldock. “The truth is, we’re all slavishly obsessed by Time. Chronological sequence has no significance whatever. If you consider Eternity, you can jump about in Time as you please. But no one does consider Eternity.”

“You women!” he said. “Trouble with all of you is, you make such a song and dance about things. How is one ever to know what’s wise or not? If young Shirley goes to London and picks up with an Egyptian student and has a coffee-coloured baby in Bloomsbury, you’ll say it’s all your fault, whereas it will be entirely Shirley’s and possibly the Egyptian’s. And if she trains and gets a good job as a secretary and marries her boss, then you’ll say you were justified. All bunkum! You can’t arrange other people’s lives for them. Either Shirley’s got some sense or she hasn’t. Time will show. If you think this London idea is a good plan, go ahead with it, but don’t take it so seriously. That’s the whole trouble with you, Laura, you take life seriously. It’s the trouble with a lot of women.”

“And you don’t?”

“I take bindweed seriously,” said Mr. Baldock, glaring down balefully at the heap on the path. “And greenfly. And I take my stomach seriously, because it gives me hell if I don’t. But I never dream of taking other people’s lives seriously. I’ve too much respect for them, for one thing.”

“You don’t understand. I couldn’t bear it if Shirley made a mess of her life and was unhappy.”

“Fiddle de dee,” said Mr. Baldock rudely. “What does it matter if Shirley’s unhappy? Most people are, off and on. You’ve got to stick being unhappy in this life, just as you’ve got to stick everything else. You need courage to get through this world, courage and a gay heart.”


e looked a

“Fiddle de dee,” said Mr. Baldock rudely. “What does it matter if Shirley’s unhappy? Most people are, off and on. You’ve got to stick being unhappy in this life, just as you’ve got to stick everything else. You need courage to get through this world, courage and a gay heart.”

Mr. Baldock suddenly grinned and closed one eyelid.

“Laura,” he said, “you’re a push-over for hard luck stories. Anyone who’s sorry for himself doesn’t need you to be sorry for him as well. Self-pity is practically a full-time occupation.”

Llewellyn Knox threw open the shutters of the hotel windows and let in the sweet-scented night air. Below him were the twinkling lights of the town, and beyond them the lights of the harbour.

For the first time for some weeks, Llewellyn felt relaxed and at peace. Here, perhaps, in the island, he could pause and take stock of himself and of the future. The pattern of the future was clear in outline, but blurred as to detail. He had passed through the agony, the emptiness, the weariness. Soon, very soon now, he should be able to begin life anew. A simpler, more undemanding life, the life of a man like any other man-with this disadvantage only: he would be beginning it at the age of forty.


It had none of the exotic languor of the tropics. Its warmth was just sufficient to relax tension. The accentuated tempo of civilisation was left behind here. It was as though in the island one went back to an earlier age, an age where the people went about their business slowly, with due thought, without hurry or stress, but where purpose was still purpose. There would be poverty here, and pain, and the various ills of the flesh, but not the jangled nerves, the feverish haste; the apprehensive thoughts of to-morrow, which are the constant goads of the higher civilisations of the world. The hard faces of the career women, the ruthless faces of mothers, ambitious for their young, the worn grey faces of business executives fighting incessantly so that they and theirs should not go down and perish, the anxious tired faces of multitudes fighting for a better existence to-morrow or even to retain the existence they had-all these were absent from the people who passed him by. Most of them glanced at him, a good-mannered glance that registered him as a foreigner, and then glanced away, resuming their own lives. They walked slowly, without haste. Perhaps they were just taking the air. Even if they were bent upon some particular course, there was no urgency. What was not done today could be done to-morrow; friends who awaited their arrival would always wait a little longer, without annoyance.

A grave, polite people, Llewellyn thought, who smiled seldom, not because they were sad, but because to smile one must be amused. The smile here was not used as a social weapon.

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