Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham – Sep 29, 2014

Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham first edition,

Regarding Somerset Maugham, the critic, Cyril Connolly, wrote: "If all else perish, there will remain a story-teller's world from Singapore to the Marquesas that is exclusively and for ever Maugham, a world of verandah and prahu which we enter, as we do that of Conan Doyle's Baker Street, with a sense of happy and eternal homecoming." (Sunday Times, 19 December 1965).

Ten readers gathered in the Lounge of the Yacht Club to read passages from Of Human Bondage that gave them insights into the wounded psychology of the hero, Philip Carey, and at the same time, provided searing picture portraits of life in all the places he lived.

Sujatha, Pamela, & KumKum

The hero ceaselessly adventures in quest of meaning in life and pursues his early passion to draw and paint in Paris. En route he encounters numerous women, all different, all capable of attracting (and repelling) Philip. His education in life continues, and he fails at almost everything he tries. His torment at the hands of women, are as torturous as the buffets of fortune he suffers.

Sunil, Thommo, Govind, Mathew, & Gopa

Readers discussed Maugham’s other novels and short stories. Nearly everyone had read some Maugham story or novel in the time of youth, but returning to it in maturity gave completely new insights. What was only a story became a saga of self-discovery.

Here we are at the end of the session.

 Pamela, Sunil, Govind, Thommo, Mathew, Priya, Gopa, Joe, KumKum, Sujatha

 To read the full account, click here.

Full Record of the session on Sep 29, 2014
Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham

Maugham described the French Riviera as 'a sunny place for shady people'

Present: Gopa, CJ, Govind, Thommo, Sunil, Joe, Priya, KumKum, Pamela, Sujatha
Absent: Sreelatha (not prepared), Preeti (parents descended), Talitha (choir practice), Ankush (?)

The next session on Poetry is fixed for Fri, Oct 10 by common agreement; and the novel Herzog by Saul Bellow on Nov 14.

We should be ready to announce the novels for 2015 at the Nov 14 session; therefore, readers, please go to work to arrive at the final choice and come up with yours in a month and send it to me by Nov 1.  Our groupings for the 2015 novel selection will be:

Sujatha, Govind, & Preeti  – Jan

Gopa, Kavita, & Ankush  – Mar

Sunil & CJ Mathew – May

Talitha, Pamela, & Zakia  – July

Priya & Thommo  – Sep

Joe, KumKum, & Sreelatha  – Nov

A brief but sensationalist account of Somerset Maugham’s social and love life is in this Daily Mail article:

The autobiographical origins of the novel are brought out in an essay by the critic Malcolm Cowley, in W. Somerset Maugham, a collection of critical reviews, edited by Anthony Curtis and John Whitehead:

Of Human Bondage was written when he was forty years old; his literary apprenticeship was over. He had learned four languages and studied masterpieces in all of them; he had worked to develop a prose style; he had written several novels most of which were pure technical exercises; he had enjoyed the rare experience of having four plays running during a single London season. But in the midst of his success as a popular playwright, he began to be obsessed—the word is his own—by the teeming memories of his past life.
‘It all came back to me so pressingly, in my sleep, on my walks, when I was rehearsing plays, when I was at a party, it became such a burden to me that I made up my mind that I could only regain my peace by writing it all down in the form of a novel. I knew it would be a long one and I wanted to be undisturbed, so I refused the contracts managers were anxious to give me and temporarily retired from the stage.' (The Summing Up, by Somerset Maugham)

Novels written after such an apprenticeship and out of such a necessity are almost certain to be good novels. But why didn't Maugham produce others of the same rank?

There are at least two answers and one of them is purely psychological. The clue to it lies in his use of` the word `obsessed.’  Maugham was obsessed, haunted by the past - by his mother, kind and beautiful, who died when he was eight; by his lonely boyhood in the vicarage at Blackstable; by his schoolmates jeering at his stammer (which was the psychological equivalent of Philip Carey’s clubfoot); by the suffering humanity he saw at St 'I`homas’s Hospital; and finally, I should guess, by a love affair as prolonged and unhappy as Philip Carey`s love for Mildred. He was under a compulsion to tell the whole story, to perform the rite of public confession and so receive absolution. 'The book,' he says, 'did for me what I wanted, and when it was issued to the world ... I found myself free forever from those pains and unhappy recollections. I put into it everything I then knew and having at last finished it prepared to make a fresh start.' He would never again return to the material that was closest to his heart.


Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham - opening paragraph of the manuscript, now in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

1. Gopa 
In this passage, Philip from the depths of his humiliation as a floorwalker in a shop, contemplates the prospect of his uncle’s death and his coming into a modest inheritance that would carry him through the last two years of his medical studies to qualify. But what if his only hope of better times did not materialse? He decides suicide would be the way out of his misery then. There is pathos in the passage, but also some grim humour, which Gopa brought out.


2. CJ 
Mathew, although posted to Hyderabad, could attend because he was in town. He wore his hair long and venerable, quite similar to KumKum’s bob, and equally curly. Someone suggested the carefree appearance was on account of his wife, Rama, being away in Patna on a posting. The passage he chose was about Philip’s early life in the parsonage with his uncle, Rev. Carey, in austere surroundings. It paints a word picture of life there, with its attendant moments of church politics, between the Vicar and the churchwarden (and bank manager), Mr Graves.

KumKum noted, laughing, that Philip only gets the top of the egg on one day, Sunday. The custom then must have been that the best was reserved for the elders. Gopa said it is like that in traditional Bengali households, and she remembers the best portion of the fish was served to the senior people. This was to teach respect, or how to behave in a civilized manner, and know your place. Thommo concurred, saying, who gets what at table is laid down by the hierarchy. CJ recalled reading a short story of those Victorian times in which the boy gets a whole egg because he had a ‘singing’ in his chest (perhaps asthmatic).

The fact that the plate money was identified to the giver is quaint: who gave the two single shillings, and the stranger who gave a florin.


3. Govind
Philip has finished with Miss Wilkerson, the governess, and says a weepy farewell to her at the railway station, only to get a letter from his friend, Hayward, extolling the poetry in Philip’s prose and holding out the prospect of the romantic love that awaits him. “What damned rot!,” Philip thinks, for he’s glad to be rid of the tiresome lady. The letter evoked merriment among the readers.

Govind felt he had to read another few lines from the time when Philip worked as an articled clerk in an accountancy firm (Govind being an accountant himself). Chartered accountancy is held up by the senior man to be a profession "in which you have to look alive."


4. Thommo 
Thomo read a passage which reflected, he said, the connection between the older churches in Kerala and the new gen churches (revivalist?). Thommo is a Church of South India (CSI) adherent, which is the Anglican communion.

After he read the tussle between the Vicar and the churchwarden-bank-manager as to who should host the visiting Tory candidate for office, and where, Sunil commented that politics of this kind (vying for dominance between the newer Methodist & Baptist chapels and the Church of England), is as old as the churches themselves. As Thommo read, we felt the snatches of humour when the Vicar calls the churchwarden ‘Bismarck’ behind his back; and the retort of the churchwarden later on that he had the right to decide where to hold a political meeting since Jesus had separated church and state by his injunction to render unto Caesar … etc. The whole passage gives a glimpse of the tenor of life in a village church; it’s hardly what a little boy would fathom or recall, but it’s the novelist’s prerogative to flesh out the circumstances of Philip’s youth and deepen the character of the Vicar, his uncle, who plays a crucial part in Philip’s rescue from abject poverty in his adult life after he’s lost his inheritance in a stock-market gamble.


5. Sunil 
The accidental way, almost, that Philip and Sally decide to marry in the last chapter was the subject of Sunil’s reading.  It’s a placid scene as Somerset Maugham decides to bring it all to a happy conclusion. The hesitant proposal and the wearied acceptance goes like this:
"I wonder if you'll marry me, Sally."
She did not move and there was no flicker of emotion on her face, but she did not look at him when she answered.
"If you like."

Any romance you notice here? One feels like shaking the duo. The climax is
"But don't you want to marry ME?"
"There's no one else I would marry."
"Then that settles it."

Laurence Harvey as Philip Carey and Nanette Newman as Sally Athelny in the 1964 film (note her distracted look)

Sally has just talked of settling down, and Philip’s closure ‘settles it.’ We all laughed! Is this how a couple supposedly in love, who have already been in the sack verbalise their final acceptance of each other? Sunil foretold that Sally would now act as the anchor in Philip’s life, and it would be so heavy that he wouldn’t be able to weigh anchor and take off for Cordoba and Toledo and all those other places in Spain he longed to visit. But Sunil added with a twinkle: that’s so long as Mildred doesn’t show up out of the blue again!

Leslie Howard (Philip) and Bette Davis (Mildred) in the 1934 film 

Priya did a post-mortem of who would have been for Philip the best choice among all the women he met. Norah, she asked? He wasn’t very nice to her in the end. Joe thought he would have been better off chucking it all up and going off on his Spain voyage, for this latest obsession with Sally seems lifeless (all she can think of is wanting lunch after the brief and lifeless wedding proposal).

CJ’s answer is we all have our favourites among the women. But the Mildred thing was a bit of masochism on Philip’s part. See the analysis by Sandhya Iyer at:

She also has a post about Maugham’s visit to India in 1936 (he came to Cochin):

And if you want to see the entire full-length (1h 22m) 1934 film with Leslie Howard as Philip and Bette Davis as Mildred go to:

Priya said that she liked the novel a long time back when she read it, but the reasons are different now for her deeper appreciation. Joe asked if Priya too would plump for Sally – to Joe it seemed Sally was only for getting children. Sunil replied that’s exactly what Philip wanted to do at the end, settle down.


6. Joe 
Of Human Bondage has been called a Bildungsroman, narrating the growth and character-building of a single person through life. That the novel was created partly out of the author’s life experiences, and is not a pure invention, testifies to the truth in literature that authors are most convincing when they know whereof they speak. The novel comes to a placid end, a contrast with the harsh circumstances that precede it and the many disappointments that Philip Carey undergoes.

Consider the three major conscious life quests of Philip, namely,
1.     to discover the meaning of life, (MOL)
2.     to gain access to the love of a woman (LOW), and
3.     to convert his passion for art (PFA) into a real calling.

In all of them he comes a cropper. So, what does he learn in the end? His experiences are below in his own words.

(a) MOL:
1.     But he was no nearer to the meaning of life than he had been before. Why the world was there, and what men had come into existence for at all, was as inexplicable as ever.
2.     suddenly the answer occurred to him … The answer was obvious. Life had no meaning. On the earth, satellite of a star speeding through space, living things had arisen under the influence of conditions which were part of the planet's history; and as there had been a beginning of life upon it so, under the influence of other conditions, there would be an end:
3.     It was the same with Cronshaw: it was quite unimportant that he had lived; he was dead and forgotten, his book of poems sold in remainder by second-hand booksellers;

(b) LOW:
1.     he realised how much of the delight of the world he had lost when he was absorbed in that madness which they called love; he had had enough of it; he did not want to be in love any more, if love was that. (re: Mildred)
2.     the important thing was to love rather than to be loved (re: Mildred)
3.     "There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved." (re: Norah)
4.     The love of parents for their children is the only emotion which is quite disinterested.

(c) PFA:
1.     "I wonder if it's worth while being a second-rate painter. You see, in other things, if you're a doctor or if you're in business, it doesn't matter so much if you're mediocre. You make a living and you get along. But what is the good of turning out second-rate pictures?"
2.     “I see no talent in anything you have shown me. I see industry and intelligence. You will never be anything but mediocre." (Foinet to Philip)
3.     "It is cruel to discover one's mediocrity only when it is too late. It does not improve the temper." (Foinet to Philip)

Laurence Harvey as Philip Carey and Nanette Newman as Sally Athelny in the 1964 film

For his reading Joe was eyeing a love scene, but found them all a bit insipid. Somerset Maugham can bring himself to say no more than this about copulation: “Then he lost his head. His senses overwhelmed him like a flood of rushing waters. He drew her into the darker shadow of the hedge.” Indeed the serene descent of Philip Carey into the “something maternal and something sisterly” arms of Sally (bare and covered with golden down) is totally anti-climactic. Joe decided therefore on a turbulent scene between Mildred and Philip.

Kim Novak as Mildred, the self centered maid-waitress in the 1964 film

When Joe said Maugham certainly had the experience to put into words a better love scene (than what was read by Sunil earlier), Priya wickedly remarked, Yes, but only into words! As for the relative lack of intensity in the love scene, several readers reminded Joe that this was a 1915 novel, much before the revolution brought about by the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial in 1960 when the novel of that name by D.H. Lawrence, published unexpurgated only in 1959, was found ‘not guilty’ under the Obscenity Act.


7. Priya 
The passage concerned Philip’s fervent prayer in school to have his clubfoot made whole, being told by his uncle that if he had sufficient faith then he could move mountains, as Jesus had said. But his foot does not get healed in spite of a long duration of prayer, and this is a great setback to his faith, and a blow to his search for relief from his handicap.

Gopa said Philip must have recalled how his mother on her deathbed stroked his foot tenderly. Joe said it was a misreading of the faith-can-move-mountains saying to read it as a literal truth; it is a metaphor for the motive power of faith to bring about change in your own life.


8. KumKum 
The culmination of Philip’s thoughts about the meaning of life is presented in this passage. With sudden clarity, after long meditation on Cronshaw’s advice that he would discover the pattern of life by looking at the Persian carpet’s design, he realizes that the answer was simple: life had no meaning. He is liberated by the realisation that neither success nor failure mattered. What you worked on all your life would be a pile of ashes when you died. Gopa mentioned we are supposed to gain wisdom with age (Joe confessed he is still not there yet); but here is a young Philip working things out for himself. Not that everything will go right for him, for he still labours under many illusions, particularly as regards women.

Gopa enjoyed his short stories, and The Moon and Sixpence. She saw a pattern in Maugham’s stories that the ‘fallen woman’ invariably comes to a sad end.  All, except the story Thommo recalled in which a missionary meets a fallen woman whom he tries to rescue, and he is the one who gets converted! That must be the story Rain, which Joe remembered seeing as a movie in 1954 with Rita Hayworth as the sultry star (the title was changed later from Miss Sadie Thompson to Rain):

Rita Hayworth as Miss Sadie Thompson in the 1953 film, 'Rain'

The text of the short story is here:

Mention was made of The Painted Veil, another novel by Maugham. Thommo couldn’t recall the name of another story in which the son is given pious advice not to gamble, lend, or womanise; but gamble, he does and makes a lot of money thereby. Perhaps Thommo is referring to the first of the four stories made as the film Quartet:


9. Pamela 
Pamela was touched when she read a scene in the novel in the boarding school life of Philip when the boys torment him about his clubfoot and demand to see it. Everyone has some handicap or the other, some complex to struggle with. It is an experience we all have to go through, said Pamela.

KumKum remarked that young boys are cruel as this passage shows. And young girls are not, asked Joe? CJ’s prompt repartee was, “They get older and then become cruel.” We all laughed at the wit.


10. Sujatha 
She read a passage in which Philip reflects on his loss of faith in religion, a passage ending with the oxymoron, “he , thanked God that he no longer believed in Him.” This quest is something we all go through. And Philip’s conclusion is a liberating one: “He was free from degrading fears and free from prejudice. He could go his way without the intolerable dread of hell-fire.”


11. Preeti
The two passages by Preeti were sent offline since she could not attend the session. 

The first reading below shows Philip's indecisiveness and the final basis on which he takes his decision. It gives a clear insight into his character, and also of most humans when they are weak or indecisive. This was the passage where Preeti began to understand the Philip's character and also what the title of the book refers to.  



Preeti quoted the second passage for the contrast it affords between the state of passion, and that of indifference, found in one and the same person. 

Exercises for the Diligent Reader
1. What are the types of Bondage described in the novel. Name 3 at least.
(extra credit if for each type, you identify a short sentence or few sentences in the novel that allude to it explicitly).


2. Is Philip free of all Bondage when the novel ends? Yes/No, but state your reason.

Answers from Four Diligent Readers
Preeti
Types of ‘bondage’ Philip experiences:
1. Loss/sorrow on loss of his mother
2. Shame (embarrassment about his physical deformity) colours his personality
3. Obsession/love?  (Mildred)
4. Pursuit of beauty
5. Dissatisfaction with the present

(Perhaps its just a result of Philip’s less than optimum measure of himself. As a “logical” extension, anything he achieves/receives/posseses, cannot be good enough. Hence, a dissatisfaction with the present and a constant strive for what seems out of reach).

Pamela
Ans 1.
The three types of bondage that I have identified are -
1. The bondage of his body -
    Page 75 -" His spirit seemed to  free itself from the bonds of the flesh and he seemed to be living a new life."
He decides to give up his life for God but he is embarassed to limp across.

2. The bondage of his own prejudices as a result of his upbringing-
Page 242 - Cronshaw says; "When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world, you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life - their pleasure."
"No, no, no!" cried Philip.
3. The bondage of the enigma of life-
Page 613 "What is the use of it?
The effort was so incommensurate with the result.......
He thought of his own life (Comparing it to Cronshaw's and Hayward's)
he did not know that he had ever done anything but what seemed best to do, and what a cropper he had come!
Other men with no more advantages than he, succeeded, and others again, with many more failed. It seemed pure chance. The rain fell alike upon the just and the unjust, and for nothing was there a why and a wherefore.
Ans.2
I don't think Philip has been freed of any of the three types of bondage at the end of the book. The only difference is that he has grown to deal with them in a matured manner by the end of the book. I cannot find a statement that says so explicitly but it’s an impression one gets from the ending of the story.

Priya
I really worry for Philip's post marriage life but my consolation lies in the fact that he will get busy with work that brings him in close touch with humanity and so he will treat Sally and her children well.
 Ans 1.
The three obvious Bondages that Philip faces are
1. the bondgae of Christian orthodoxy
 2. the bondage of his physical deformity and
 3. the bondage of his unreasonable passions.
At the end of the book Philip is at peace with the way his life has panned out, so far, but he is not free of all the ‘bondages’ of life, as no man ever is. He will soon experience the bondage of family life and in his case the bondage of commitment.

I feel that Philip is a good man after all, one with compassion and  conscience, but he will find it difficult to stay true to Sally, yet he must for his happiness. That's the bondage I feel he will find himself negotiating with in the latter part of his life.

Joe
Q1.  The 3 main types of bondage are (a) bondage to religion, (b) bondage to a search for meaning, and (c) bondage to sexual attraction

Texts in support of (a)
- Though he had now given up all idea of becoming a Roman Catholic, he still looked upon that communion with sympathy. He had much to say in its praise, and he compared favourably its gorgeous ceremonies with the simple services of the Church of England. He gave Philip Newman's Apologia to read, and Philip, finding it very dull, nevertheless read it to the end.
- It occurred neither to Hayward nor to Weeks that the conversations which helped them to pass an idle evening were being turned over afterwards in Philip's active brain. It had never struck him before that religion was a matter upon which discussion was possible. To him it meant the Church of England, and not to believe in its tenets was a sign of wilfulness which could not fail of punishment here or hereafter.
- The religious exercises which for so many years had been forced upon him were part and parcel of religion to him. He thought of the collects and epistles which he had been made to learn by heart, and the long services at the Cathedral through which he had sat when every limb itched with the desire for movement; and he remembered those walks at night through muddy roads to the parish church at Blackstable, and the coldness of that bleak building; he sat with his feet like ice, his fingers numb and heavy, and all around was the sickly odour of pomatum. Oh, he had been so bored! His heart leaped when he saw he was free from all that.
Texts that bear out (b) are
-         But he was no nearer to the meaning of life than he had been before. Why the world was there, and what men had come into existence for at all, was as inexplicable as ever.
-         suddenly the answer occurred to him … The answer was obvious. Life had no meaning.

Texts for (c)
- Philip thought [Mildred] had a common laugh, and it made him shudder. He called her, but she took no notice; he called her again; then, growing angry, for he was impatient, he rapped the table loudly with his stick. She approached sulkily.
- His face was placid, but he could not prevent the mad beating of his heart. At that time the musical comedy had lately leaped into public favour, and he was sure that Mildred would be delighted to go to one.
- He thought of this old fancy of his, and it seemed impossible that he should be in love with Mildred Rogers. Her name was grotesque. He did not think her pretty; he hated the thinness of her,
- Philip knew that he was flirting with Mildred, and he was horribly jealous of him; but he took comfort in the coldness of her temperament, which otherwise distressed him; and, thinking her incapable of passion, he looked upon his rival as no better off than himself
- he realised how much of the delight of the world he had lost when he was absorbed in that madness which they called love; he had had enough of
Q 2.  As the novel ends Philip seems to have freed himself of the 3 bondages mentioned above, but he has subjected himself to a fresh bondage, that  of domestic bliss to be enjoyed with a woman whose ‘affection that had in it something maternal and something sisterly.’ He abandons his desire to travel and see Spain just to live in a remote sea-coast town of Cornwall as a GP with this woman who has little romantic interest.  It is not an equal bargain.




The Readings

1. Gopa 
Ch. CV
At first Philip, in order not to forget what he had learned, tried to go on reading his medical books, but he found it useless; he could not fix his attention on them after the exhausting work of the day; and it seemed hopeless to continue working when he did not know in how long he would be able to go back to the hospital. He dreamed constantly that he was in the wards. The awakening was painful. The sensation of other people sleeping in the room was inexpressibly irksome to him; he had been used to solitude, and to be with others always, never to be by himself for an instant was at these moments horrible to him. It was then that he found it most difficult to combat his despair. He saw himself going on with that life, first to the right, second on the left, madam, indefinitely; and having to be thankful if he was not sent away: the men who had gone to the war would be coming home soon, the firm had guaranteed to take them back, and this must mean that others would be sacked; he would have to stir himself even to keep the wretched post he had.
There was only one thing to free him and that was the death of his uncle. He would get a few hundred pounds then, and on this he could finish his course at the hospital. Philip began to wish with all his might for the old man's death. He reckoned out how long he could possibly live: he was well over seventy, Philip did not know his exact age, but he must be at least seventy-five; he suffered from chronic bronchitis and every winter had a bad cough. Though he knew them by heart Philip read over and over again the details in his text-book of medicine of chronic bronchitis in the old. A severe winter might be too much for the old man. With all his heart Philip longed for cold and rain. He thought of it constantly, so that it became a monomania. Uncle William was affected by the great heat too, and in August they had three weeks of sweltering weather. Philip imagined to himself that one day perhaps a telegram would come saying that the Vicar had died suddenly, and he pictured to himself his unutterable relief. As he stood at the top of the stairs and directed people to the departments they wanted, he occupied his mind with thinking incessantly what he would do with the money. He did not know how much it would be, perhaps no more than five hundred pounds, but even that would be enough. He would leave the shop at once, he would not bother to give notice, he would pack his box and go without saying a word to anybody; and then he would return to the hospital. That was the first thing. Would he have forgotten much? In six months he could get it all back, and then he would take his three examinations as soon as he could, midwifery first, then medicine and surgery. The awful fear seized him that his uncle, notwithstanding his promises, might leave everything he had to the parish or the church. The thought made Philip sick. He could not be so cruel. But if that happened Philip was quite determined what to do, he would not go on in that way indefinitely; his life was only tolerable because he could look forward to something better. If he had no hope he would have no fear. The only brave thing to do then would be to commit suicide, and, thinking this over too, Philip decided minutely what painless drug he would take and how he would get hold of it. It encouraged him to think that, if things became unendurable, he had at all events a way out.
"Second to the right, madam, and down the stairs. First on the left and straight through. Mr. Philips, forward please."


2. CJ 
Ch VII
Sunday was a day crowded with incident. Mr. Carey was accustomed to say that he was the only man in his parish who worked seven days a week.
The household got up half an hour earlier than usual. No lying abed for a poor parson on the day of rest, Mr. Carey remarked as Mary Ann knocked at the door punctually at eight. It took Mrs. Carey longer to dress, and she got down to breakfast at nine, a little breathless, only just before her husband. Mr. Carey's boots stood in front of the fire to warm. Prayers were longer than usual, and the breakfast more substantial. After breakfast the Vicar cut thin slices of bread for the communion, and Philip was privileged to cut off the crust. He was sent to the study to fetch a marble paperweight, with which Mr. Carey pressed the bread till it was thin and pulpy, and then it was cut into small squares. The amount was regulated by the weather. On a very bad day few people came to church, and on a very fine one, though many came, few stayed for communion. There were most when it was dry enough to make the walk to church pleasant, but not so fine that people wanted to hurry away.
Then Mrs. Carey brought the communion plate out of the safe, which stood in the pantry, and the Vicar polished it with a chamois leather. At ten the fly drove up, and Mr. Carey got into his boots. Mrs. Carey took several minutes to put on her bonnet, during which the Vicar, in a voluminous cloak, stood in the hall with just such an expression on his face as would have become an early Christian about to be led into the arena. It was extraordinary that after thirty years of marriage his wife could not be ready in time on Sunday morning. At last she came, in black satin; the Vicar did not like colours in a clergyman's wife at any time, but on Sundays he was determined that she should wear black; now and then, in conspiracy with Miss Graves, she ventured a white feather or a pink rose in her bonnet, but the Vicar insisted that it should disappear; he said he would not go to church with the scarlet woman: Mrs. Carey sighed as a woman but obeyed as a wife. They were about to step into the carriage when the Vicar remembered that no one had given him his egg. They knew that he must have an egg for his voice, there were two women in the house, and no one had the least regard for his comfort. Mrs. Carey scolded Mary Ann, and Mary Ann answered that she could not think of everything. She hurried away to fetch an egg, and Mrs. Carey beat it up in a glass of sherry. The Vicar swallowed it at a gulp. The communion plate was stowed in the carriage, and they set off.
The fly came from The Red Lion and had a peculiar smell of stale straw. They drove with both windows closed so that the Vicar should not catch cold. The sexton was waiting at the porch to take the communion plate, and while the Vicar went to the vestry Mrs. Carey and Philip settled themselves in the vicarage pew. Mrs. Carey placed in front of her the sixpenny bit she was accustomed to put in the plate, and gave Philip threepence for the same purpose. The church filled up gradually and the service began.
Philip grew bored during the sermon, but if he fidgetted Mrs. Carey put a gentle hand on his arm and looked at him reproachfully. He regained interest when the final hymn was sung and Mr. Graves passed round with the plate.
When everyone had gone Mrs. Carey went into Miss Graves' pew to have a few words with her while they were waiting for the gentlemen, and Philip went to the vestry. His uncle, the curate, and Mr. Graves were still in their surplices. Mr. Carey gave him the remains of the consecrated bread and told him he might eat it. He had been accustomed to eat it himself, as it seemed blasphemous to throw it away, but Philip's keen appetite relieved him from the duty. Then they counted the money. It consisted of pennies, sixpences and threepenny bits. There were always two single shillings, one put in the plate by the Vicar and the other by Mr. Graves; and sometimes there was a florin. Mr. Graves told the Vicar who had given this. It was always a stranger to Blackstable, and Mr. Carey wondered who he was. But Miss Graves had observed the rash act and was able to tell Mrs. Carey that the stranger came from London, was married and had children. During the drive home Mrs. Carey passed the information on, and the Vicar made up his mind to call on him and ask for a subscription to the Additional Curates Society. Mr. Carey asked if Philip had behaved properly; and Mrs. Carey remarked that Mrs. Wigram had a new mantle, Mr. Cox was not in church, and somebody thought that Miss Phillips was engaged. When they reached the vicarage they all felt that they deserved a substantial dinner.
When this was over Mrs. Carey went to her room to rest, and Mr. Carey lay down on the sofa in the drawing-room for forty winks.
They had tea at five, and the Vicar ate an egg to support himself for evensong. Mrs. Carey did not go to this so that Mary Ann might, but she read the service through and the hymns. Mr. Carey walked to church in the evening, and Philip limped along by his side. The walk through the darkness along the country road strangely impressed him, and the church with all its lights in the distance, coming gradually nearer, seemed very friendly. At first he was shy with his uncle, but little by little grew used to him, and he would slip his hand in his uncle's and walk more easily for the feeling of protection.
They had supper when they got home. Mr. Carey's slippers were waiting for him on a footstool in front of the fire and by their side Philip's, one the shoe of a small boy, the other misshapen and odd. He was dreadfully tired when he went up to bed, and he did not resist when Mary Ann undressed him. She kissed him after she tucked him up, and he began to love her.


3. Govind
He stood up on the step and she kissed him quickly. The train started, and Miss Wilkinson sank into the corner of her carriage and wept disconsolately. Philip, as he walked back to the vicarage, felt a distinct sensation of relief.
"Well, did you see her safely off?" asked Aunt Louisa, when they got in.
"Yes, she seemed rather weepy. She insisted on kissing me and Philip."
"Oh, well, at her age it's not dangerous." Mrs. Carey pointed to the sideboard. "There's a letter for you, Philip. It came by the second post."
It was from Hayward and ran as follows:
My dear boy,
I answer your letter at once. I ventured to read it to a great friend of mine, a charming woman whose help and sympathy have been very precious to me, a woman withal with a real feeling for art and literature; and we agreed that it was charming. You wrote from your heart and you do not know the delightful naiveté which is in every line. And because you love you write like a poet. Ah, dear boy, that is the real thing: I felt the glow of your young passion, and your prose was musical from the sincerity of your emotion. You must be happy! I wish I could have been present unseen in that enchanted garden while you wandered hand in hand, like Daphnis and Chloe, amid the flowers. I can see you, my Daphnis, with the light of young love in your eyes, tender, enraptured, and ardent; while Chloe in your arms, so young and soft and fresh, vowing she would ne'er consent—consented. Roses and violets and honeysuckle! Oh, my friend, I envy you. It is so good to think that your first love should have been pure poetry. Treasure the moments, for the immortal gods have given you the Greatest Gift of All, and it will be a sweet, sad memory till your dying day. You will never again enjoy that careless rapture. First love is best love; and she is beautiful and you are young, and all the world is yours. I felt my pulse go faster when with your adorable simplicity you told me that you buried your face in her long hair. I am sure that it is that exquisite chestnut which seems just touched with gold. I would have you sit under a leafy tree side by side, and read together Romeo and Juliet; and then I would have you fall on your knees and on my behalf kiss the ground on which her foot has left its imprint; then tell her it is the homage of a poet to her radiant youth and to your love for her. Yours always, G. Etheridge Hayward.

"What damned rot!" said Philip, when he finished the letter.
Miss Wilkinson oddly enough had suggested that they should read Romeo and Juliet together; but Philip had firmly declined. Then, as he put the letter in his pocket, he felt a queer little pang of bitterness because reality seemed so different from the ideal.
(another short passage)
It chanced that Mr. Carter two or three days later was dining with the Watsons, and the sketches were shown him. The following morning he sent for Philip. Philip saw him seldom and stood in some awe of him.
"Look here, young fellow, I don't care what you do out of office-hours, but I've seen those sketches of yours and they're on office-paper, and Mr. Goodworthy tells me you're slack. You won't do any good as a chartered accountant unless you look alive. It's a fine profession, and we're getting a very good class of men in it, but it's a profession in which you have to…" he looked for the termination of his phrase, but could not find exactly what he wanted, so finished rather tamely, "in which you have to look alive."


4. Thommo 
Ch. VI
Blackstable was a fishing village. It consisted of a high street in which were the shops, the bank, the doctor's house, and the houses of two or three coalship owners; round the little harbor were shabby streets in which lived fishermen and poor people; but since they went to chapel they were of no account. When Mrs. Carey passed the dissenting ministers in the street she stepped over to the other side to avoid meeting them, but if there was not time for this fixed her eyes on the pavement. It was a scandal to which the Vicar had never resigned himself that there were three chapels in the High Street: he could not help feeling that the law should have stepped in to prevent their erection. Shopping in Blackstable was not a simple matter; for dissent, helped by the fact that the parish church was two miles from the town, was very common; and it was necessary to deal only with churchgoers; Mrs. Carey knew perfectly that the vicarage custom might make all the difference to a tradesman's faith. There were two butchers who went to church, and they would not understand that the Vicar could not deal with both of them at once; nor were they satisfied with his simple plan of going for six months to one and for six months to the other. The butcher who was not sending meat to the vicarage constantly threatened not to come to church, and the Vicar was sometimes obliged to make a threat: it was very wrong of him not to come to church, but if he carried iniquity further and actually went to chapel, then of course, excellent as his meat was, Mr. Carey would be forced to leave him for ever. Mrs. Carey often stopped at the bank to deliver a message to Josiah Graves, the manager, who was choir-master, treasurer, and churchwarden. He was a tall, thin man with a sallow face and a long nose; his hair was very white, and to Philip he seemed extremely old. He kept the parish accounts, arranged the treats for the choir and the schools; though there was no organ in the parish church, it was generally considered (in Blackstable) that the choir he led was the best in Kent; and when there was any ceremony, such as a visit from the Bishop for confirmation or from the Rural Dean to preach at the Harvest Thanksgiving, he made the necessary preparations. But he had no hesitation in doing all manner of things without more than a perfunctory consultation with the Vicar, and the Vicar, though always ready to be saved trouble, much resented the churchwarden's managing ways. He really seemed to look upon himself as the most important person in the parish. Mr. Carey constantly told his wife that if Josiah Graves did not take care he would give him a good rap over the knuckles one day; but Mrs. Carey advised him to bear with Josiah Graves: he meant well, and it was not his fault if he was not quite a gentleman. The Vicar, finding his comfort in the practice of a Christian virtue, exercised forbearance; but he revenged himself by calling the churchwarden Bismarck behind his back.
Once there had been a serious quarrel between the pair, and Mrs. Carey still thought of that anxious time with dismay. The Conservative candidate had announced his intention of addressing a meeting at Blackstable; and Josiah Graves, having arranged that it should take place in the Mission Hall, went to Mr. Carey and told him that he hoped he would say a few words. It appeared that the candidate had asked Josiah Graves to take the chair. This was more than Mr. Carey could put up with. He had firm views upon the respect which was due to the cloth, and it was ridiculous for a churchwarden to take the chair at a meeting when the Vicar was there. He reminded Josiah Graves that parson meant person, that is, the vicar was the person of the parish. Josiah Graves answered that he was the first to recognise the dignity of the church, but this was a matter of politics, and in his turn he reminded the Vicar that their Blessed Saviour had enjoined upon them to render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar's. To this Mr. Carey replied that the devil could quote scripture to his purpose, himself had sole authority over the Mission Hall, and if he were not asked to be chairman he would refuse the use of it for a political meeting. Josiah Graves told Mr. Carey that he might do as he chose, and for his part he thought the Wesleyan Chapel would be an equally suitable place. Then Mr. Carey said that if Josiah Graves set foot in what was little better than a heathen temple he was not fit to be churchwarden in a Christian parish. Josiah Graves thereupon resigned all his offices, and that very evening sent to the church for his cassock and surplice. His sister, Miss Graves, who kept house for him, gave up her secretaryship of the Maternity Club, which provided the pregnant poor with flannel, baby linen, coals, and five shillings. Mr. Carey said he was at last master in his own house. But soon he found that he was obliged to see to all sorts of things that he knew nothing about; and Josiah Graves, after the first moment of irritation, discovered that he had lost his chief interest in life. Mrs. Carey and Miss Graves were much distressed by the quarrel; they met after a discreet exchange of letters, and made up their minds to put the matter right: they talked, one to her husband, the other to her brother, from morning till night; and since they were persuading these gentlemen to do what in their hearts they wanted, after three weeks of anxiety a reconciliation was effected. It was to both their interests, but they ascribed it to a common love for their Redeemer. The meeting was held at the Mission Hall, and the doctor was asked to be chairman. Mr. Carey and Josiah Graves both made speeches.


5. Sunil 
Ch. CXXII (last chapter)
He crossed Trafalgar Square. Suddenly his heart gave a sort of twist in his body; he saw a woman in front of him who he thought was Mildred. She had the same figure, and she walked with that slight dragging of the feet which was so characteristic of her. Without thinking, but with a beating heart, he hurried till he came alongside, and then, when the woman turned, he saw it was someone unknown to him. It was the face of a much older person, with a lined, yellow skin. He slackened his pace. He was infinitely relieved, but it was not only relief that he felt; it was disappointment too; he was seized with horror of himself. Would he never be free from that passion? At the bottom of his heart, notwithstanding everything, he felt that a strange, desperate thirst for that vile woman would always linger. That love had caused him so much suffering that he knew he would never, never quite be free of it. Only death could finally assuage his desire.
But he wrenched the pang from his heart. He thought of Sally, with her kind blue eyes; and his lips unconsciously formed themselves into a smile. He walked up the steps of the National Gallery and sat down in the first room, so that he should see her the moment she came in. It always comforted him to get among pictures. He looked at none in particular, but allowed the magnificence of their colour, the beauty of their lines, to work upon his soul. His imagination was busy with Sally. It would be pleasant to take her away from that London in which she seemed an unusual figure, like a cornflower in a shop among orchids and azaleas; he had learned in the Kentish hop-field that she did not belong to the town; and he was sure that she would blossom under the soft skies of Dorset to a rarer beauty. She came in, and he got up to meet her. She was in black, with white cuffs at her wrists and a lawn collar round her neck. They shook hands.
"Have you been waiting long?"
"No. Ten minutes. Are you hungry?"
"Not very."
"Let's sit here for a bit, shall we?"
"If you like."
They sat quietly, side by side, without speaking. Philip enjoyed having her near him. He was warmed by her radiant health. A glow of life seemed like an aureole to shine about her.
"Well, how have you been?" he said at last, with a little smile.
"Oh, it's all right. It was a false alarm."
"Was it?"
"Aren't you glad?"
An extraordinary sensation filled him. He had felt certain that Sally's suspicion was well-founded; it had never occurred to him for an instant that there was a possibility of error. All his plans were suddenly overthrown, and the existence, so elaborately pictured, was no more than a dream which would never be realised. He was free once more. Free! He need give up none of his projects, and life still was in his hands for him to do what he liked with. He felt no exhilaration, but only dismay. His heart sank. The future stretched out before him in desolate emptiness. It was as though he had sailed for many years over a great waste of waters, with peril and privation, and at last had come upon a fair haven, but as he was about to enter, some contrary wind had arisen and drove him out again into the open sea; and because he had let his mind dwell on these soft meads and pleasant woods of the land, the vast deserts of the ocean filled him with anguish. He could not confront again the loneliness and the tempest. Sally looked at him with her clear eyes.
"Aren't you glad?" she asked again. "I thought you'd be as pleased as
Punch."
He met her gaze haggardly. "I'm not sure," he muttered.
"You are funny. Most men would."
He realised that he had deceived himself; it was no self-sacrifice that had driven him to think of marrying, but the desire for a wife and a home and love; and now that it all seemed to slip through his fingers he was seized with despair. He wanted all that more than anything in the world. What did he care for Spain and its cities, Cordova, Toledo, Leon; what to him were the pagodas of Burmah and the lagoons of South Sea Islands? America was here and now. It seemed to him that all his life he had followed the ideals that other people, by their words or their writings, had instilled into him, and never the desires of his own heart. Always his course had been swayed by what he thought he should do and never by what he wanted with his whole soul to do. He put all that aside now with a gesture of impatience. He had lived always in the future, and the present always, always had slipped through his fingers. His ideals? He thought of his desire to make a design, intricate and beautiful, out of the myriad, meaningless facts of life: had he not seen also that the simplest pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and died, was likewise the most perfect? It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.
He glanced quickly at Sally, he wondered what she was thinking, and then looked away again.
"I was going to ask you to marry me," he said.
"I thought p'raps you might, but I shouldn't have liked to stand in your way."
"You wouldn't have done that."
"How about your travels, Spain and all that?"
"How d'you know I want to travel?"
"I ought to know something about it. I've heard you and Dad talk about it till you were blue in the face."
"I don't care a damn about all that." He paused for an instant and then spoke in a low, hoarse whisper. "I don't want to leave you! I can't leave you."
She did not answer. He could not tell what she thought.
"I wonder if you'll marry me, Sally."
She did not move and there was no flicker of emotion on her face, but she did not look at him when she answered.
"If you like."
"Don't you want to?"
"Oh, of course I'd like to have a house of my own, and it's about time I was settling down."
He smiled a little. He knew her pretty well by now, and her manner did not surprise him.
"But don't you want to marry ME?"
"There's no one else I would marry."
"Then that settles it."
"Mother and Dad will be surprised, won't they?"
"I'm so happy."
"I want my lunch," she said.
"Dear!"
He smiled and took her hand and pressed it. They got up and walked out of the gallery. They stood for a moment at the balustrade and looked at Trafalgar Square. Cabs and omnibuses hurried to and fro, and crowds passed, hastening in every direction, and the sun was shining.


6. Joe 
Ch. XCVI p.560 Mildred hurls abuse at Philip (556 words)
"I love you, Philip. I want to make up for all the harm I did you. I can't go on like this, it's not in human nature."
He slipped out of the chair and left her in it.
"I'm very sorry, but it's too late."
She gave a heart-rending sob.
"But why? How can you be so cruel?"
"I suppose it's because I loved you too much. I wore the passion out. The thought of anything of that sort horrifies me. I can't look at you now without thinking of Emil and Griffiths. One can't help those things, I suppose it's just nerves."
She seized his hand and covered it with kisses.
"Don't," he cried.
She sank back into the chair.
"I can't go on like this. If you won't love me, I'd rather go away."
"Don't be foolish, you haven't anywhere to go. You can stay here as long as you like, but it must be on the definite understanding that we're friends and nothing more."
Then she dropped suddenly the vehemence of passion and gave a soft, insinuating laugh. She sidled up to Philip and put her arms round him. She made her voice low and wheedling.
"Don't be such an old silly. I believe you're nervous. You don't know how nice I can be."
She put her face against his and rubbed his cheek with hers. To Philip her smile was an abominable leer, and the suggestive glitter of her eyes filled him with horror. He drew back instinctively.
"I won't," he said.
But she would not let him go. She sought his mouth with her lips. He took her hands and tore them roughly apart and pushed her away.
"You disgust me," he said.
"Me?"
She steadied herself with one hand on the chimney-piece. She looked at him for an instant, and two red spots suddenly appeared on her cheeks. She gave a shrill, angry laugh.
"I disgust YOU."
She paused and drew in her breath sharply. Then she burst into a furious torrent of abuse. She shouted at the top of her voice. She called him every foul name she could think of. She used language so obscene that Philip was astounded; she was always so anxious to be refined, so shocked by coarseness, that it had never occurred to him that she knew the words she used now. She came up to him and thrust her face in his. It was distorted with passion, and in her tumultuous speech the spittle dribbled over her lips.
"I never cared for you, not once, I was making a fool of you always, you bored me, you bored me stiff, and I hated you, I would never have let you touch me only for the money, and it used to make me sick when I had to let you kiss me. We laughed at you, Griffiths and me, we laughed because you was such a mug. A mug! A mug!"
Then she burst again into abominable invective. She accused him of every mean fault;
...
Then she turned round and hurled at him the injury which she knew was the only one that really touched him. She threw into the word all the malice and all the venom of which she was capable. She flung it at him as though it were a blow.
"Cripple!"


7. Priya 
Ch. XIV
Then a wave of religiosity passed through the school. Bad language was no longer heard, and the little nastinesses of small boys were looked upon with hostility; the bigger boys, like the lords temporal of the Middle Ages, used the strength of their arms to persuade those weaker than themselves to virtuous courses.
Philip, his restless mind avid for new things, became very devout. He heard soon that it was possible to join a Bible League, and wrote to London for particulars. These consisted in a form to be filled up with the applicant's name, age, and school; a solemn declaration to be signed that he would read a set portion of Holy Scripture every night for a year; and a request for half a crown; this, it was explained, was demanded partly to prove the earnestness of the applicant's desire to become a member of the League, and partly to cover clerical expenses. Philip duly sent the papers and the money, and in return received a calendar worth about a penny, on which was set down the appointed passage to be read each day, and a sheet of paper on one side of which was a picture of the Good Shepherd and a lamb, and on the other, decoratively framed in red lines, a short prayer which had to be said before beginning to read.
Every evening he undressed as quickly as possible in order to have time for his task before the gas was put out. He read industriously, as he read always, without criticism, stories of cruelty, deceit, ingratitude, dishonesty, and low cunning. Actions which would have excited his horror in the life about him, in the reading passed through his mind without comment, because they were committed under the direct inspiration of God. The method of the League was to alternate a book of the Old Testament with a book of the New, and one night Philip came across these words of Jesus Christ:
If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig-tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all this, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
They made no particular impression on him, but it happened that two or three days later, being Sunday, the Canon in residence chose them for the text of his sermon. Even if Philip had wanted to hear this it would have been impossible, for the boys of King's School sit in the choir, and the pulpit stands at the corner of the transept so that the preacher's back is almost turned to them. The distance also is so great that it needs a man with a fine voice and a knowledge of elocution to make himself heard in the choir; and according to long usage the Canons of Tercanbury are chosen for their learning rather than for any qualities which might be of use in a cathedral church. But the words of the text, perhaps because he had read them so short a while before, came clearly enough to Philip's ears, and they seemed on a sudden to have a personal application. He thought about them through most of the sermon, and that night, on getting into bed, he turned over the pages of the Gospel and found once more the passage. Though he believed implicitly everything he saw in print, he had learned already that in the Bible things that said one thing quite clearly often mysteriously meant another. There was no one he liked to ask at school, so he kept the question he had in mind till the Christmas holidays, and then one day he made an opportunity. It was after supper and prayers were just finished. Mrs. Carey was counting the eggs that Mary Ann had brought in as usual and writing on each one the date. Philip stood at the table and pretended to turn listlessly the pages of the Bible.
"I say, Uncle William, this passage here, does it really mean that?"
He put his finger against it as though he had come across it accidentally.
Mr. Carey looked up over his spectacles. He was holding The Blackstable Times in front of the fire. It had come in that evening damp from the press, and the Vicar always aired it for ten minutes before he began to read.
"What passage is that?" he asked.
"Why, this about if you have faith you can remove mountains."
"If it says so in the Bible it is so, Philip," said Mrs. Carey gently, taking up the plate-basket.
Philip looked at his uncle for an answer.
"It's a matter of faith."
"D'you mean to say that if you really believed you could move mountains you could?"
"By the grace of God," said the Vicar.
"Now, say good-night to your uncle, Philip," said Aunt Louisa. "You're not wanting to move a mountain tonight, are you?"
Philip allowed himself to be kissed on the forehead by his uncle and preceded Mrs. Carey upstairs. He had got the information he wanted. His little room was icy, and he shivered when he put on his nightshirt. But he always felt that his prayers were more pleasing to God when he said them under conditions of discomfort. The coldness of his hands and feet were an offering to the Almighty. And tonight he sank on his knees; buried his face in his hands, and prayed to God with all his might that He would make his club-foot whole. It was a very small thing beside the moving of mountains. He knew that God could do it if He wished, and his own faith was complete. Next morning, finishing his prayers with the same request, he fixed a date for the miracle.
He said it again in the evening and again, shivering in his nightshirt, before he got into bed. And he believed. For once he looked forward with eagerness to the end of the holidays. He laughed to himself as he thought of his uncle's astonishment when he ran down the stairs three at a time; and after breakfast he and Aunt Louisa would have to hurry out and buy a new pair of boots. At school they would be astounded.
"Hulloa, Carey, what have you done with your foot?"
"Oh, it's all right now," he would answer casually, as though it were the most natural thing in the world.
He would be able to play football. His heart leaped as he saw himself running, running, faster than any of the other boys. At the end of the Easter term there were the sports, and he would be able to go in for the races; he rather fancied himself over the hurdles. It would be splendid to be like everyone else, not to be stared at curiously by new boys who did not know about his deformity, nor at the baths in summer to need incredible precautions, while he was undressing, before he could hide his foot in the water.
He prayed with all the power of his soul. No doubts assailed him. He was confident in the word of God. And the night before he was to go back to school he went up to bed tremulous with excitement. There was snow on the ground, and Aunt Louisa had allowed herself the unaccustomed luxury of a fire in her bed-room; but in Philip's little room it was so cold that his fingers were numb, and he had great difficulty in undoing his collar. His teeth chattered. The idea came to him that he must do something more than usual to attract the attention of God, and he turned back the rug which was in front of his bed so that he could kneel on the bare boards; and then it struck him that his nightshirt was a softness that might displease his Maker, so he took it off and said his prayers naked. When he got into bed he was so cold that for some time he could not sleep, but when he did, it was so soundly that Mary Ann had to shake him when she brought in his hot water next morning. She talked to him while she drew the curtains, but he did not answer; he had remembered at once that this was the morning for the miracle. His heart was filled with joy and gratitude. His first instinct was to put down his hand and feel the foot which was whole now, but to do this seemed to doubt the goodness of God. He knew that his foot was well. But at last he made up his mind, and with the toes of his right foot he just touched his left. Then he passed his hand over it.
He limped downstairs just as Mary Ann was going into the dining-room for prayers, and then he sat down to breakfast.
"You're very quiet this morning, Philip," said Aunt Louisa presently.
"He's thinking of the good breakfast he'll have at school to-morrow," said the Vicar.
When Philip answered, it was in a way that always irritated his uncle, with something that had nothing to do with the matter in hand. He called it a bad habit of wool-gathering.
"Supposing you'd asked God to do something," said Philip, "and really believed it was going to happen, like moving a mountain, I mean, and you had faith, and it didn't happen, what would it mean?"
"What a funny boy you are!" said Aunt Louisa. "You asked about moving mountains two or three weeks ago."
"It would just mean that you hadn't got faith," answered Uncle William.
Philip accepted the explanation. If God had not cured him, it was because he did not really believe. And yet he did not see how he could believe more than he did. But perhaps he had not given God enough time. He had only asked Him for nineteen days. In a day or two he began his prayer again, and this time he fixed upon Easter. That was the day of His Son's glorious resurrection, and God in His happiness might be mercifully inclined. But now Philip added other means of attaining his desire: he began to wish, when he saw a new moon or a dappled horse, and he looked out for shooting stars; during exeat they had a chicken at the vicarage, and he broke the lucky bone with Aunt Louisa and wished again, each time that his foot might be made whole. He was appealing unconsciously to gods older to his race than the God of Israel. And he bombarded the Almighty with his prayer, at odd times of the day, whenever it occurred to him, in identical words always, for it seemed to him important to make his request in the same terms. But presently the feeling came to him that this time also his faith would not be great enough. He could not resist the doubt that assailed him. He made his own experience into a general rule.
"I suppose no one ever has faith enough," he said.
It was like the salt which his nurse used to tell him about: you could catch any bird by putting salt on his tail; and once he had taken a little bag of it into Kensington Gardens. But he could never get near enough to put the salt on a bird's tail. Before Easter he had given up the struggle. He felt a dull resentment against his uncle for taking him in. The text which spoke of the moving of mountains was just one of those that said one thing and meant another. He thought his uncle had been playing a practical joke on him.


8. KumKum 
Ch. CVI p. 612 The meaning of life (610 words)
Philip thought of those early days in Heidelberg when Hayward, capable of great things, had been full of enthusiasm for the future, and how, little by little, achieving nothing, he had resigned himself to failure. Now he was dead. His death had been as futile as his life. He died ingloriously, of a stupid disease, failing once more, even at the end, to accomplish anything. It was just the same now as if he had never lived.
Philip asked himself desperately what was the use of living at all. It all seemed inane. It was the same with Cronshaw: it was quite unimportant that he had lived; he was dead and forgotten, his book of poems sold in remainder by second-hand booksellers; his life seemed to have served nothing except to give a pushing journalist occasion to write an article in a review. And Philip cried out in his soul:
"What is the use of it?"
The effort was so incommensurate with the result. The bright hopes of youth had to be paid for at such a bitter price of disillusionment. Pain and disease and unhappiness weighed down the scale so heavily. What did it all mean? He thought of his own life, the high hopes with which he had entered upon it, the limitations which his body forced upon him, his friendlessness, and the lack of affection which had surrounded his youth. He did not know that he had ever done anything but what seemed best to do, and what a cropper he had come! Other men, with no more advantages than he, succeeded, and others again, with many more, failed. It seemed pure chance. The rain fell alike upon the just and upon the unjust, and for nothing was there a why and a wherefore.
Thinking of Cronshaw, Philip remembered the Persian rug which he had given him, telling him that it offered an answer to his question upon the meaning of life; and suddenly the answer occurred to him: he chuckled: now that he had it, it was like one of the puzzles which you worry over till you are shown the solution and then cannot imagine how it could ever have escaped you. The answer was obvious. Life had no meaning.
There was no meaning in life, and man by living served no end. It was immaterial whether he was born or not born, whether he lived or ceased to live. Life was insignificant and death without consequence. Philip exulted, as he had exulted in his boyhood when the weight of a belief in God was lifted from his shoulders: it seemed to him that the last burden of responsibility was taken from him; and for the first time he was utterly free.
Failure was unimportant and success amounted to nothing. He was the most inconsiderate creature in that swarming mass of mankind which for a brief space occupied the surface of the earth; and he was almighty because he had wrenched from chaos the secret of its nothingness. Thoughts came tumbling over one another in Philip's eager fancy, and he took long breaths of joyous satisfaction. He felt inclined to leap and sing. He had not been so happy for months.
"Oh, life," he cried in his heart, "Oh life, where is thy sting?"
Philip thought that in throwing over the desire for happiness he was casting aside the last of his illusions. His life had seemed horrible when it was measured by its happiness, but now he seemed to gather strength as he realised that it might be measured by something else. Happiness mattered as little as pain. They came in, both of them, as all the other details of life came in, to the elaboration of the design. he seemed for an instant  to stand above the accidents of his existence, and he felt that they could not affect him again as they had done before.
...
Philip was happy.


9. Pamela 
Ch. XI
But at night when they went up to bed and were undressing, the boy who was called Singer came out of his cubicle and put his head in Philip's.
"I say, let's look at your foot," he said.
"No," answered Philip.
He jumped into bed quickly.
"Don't say no to me," said Singer. "Come on, Mason."
The boy in the next cubicle was looking round the corner, and at the words he slipped in. They made for Philip and tried to tear the bed-clothes off him, but he held them tightly.
"Why can't you leave me alone?" he cried.
Singer seized a brush and with the back of it beat Philip's hands clenched on the blanket. Philip cried out.
"Why don't you show us your foot quietly?"
"I won't."                                       
In desperation Philip clenched his fist and hit the boy who tormented him, but he was at a disadvantage, and the boy seized his arm. He began to turn it.
"Oh, don't, don't," said Philip. "You'll break my arm."
"Stop still then and put out your foot."
Philip gave a sob and a gasp. The boy gave the arm another wrench. The pain was unendurable.
"All right. I'll do it," said Philip.
He put out his foot. Singer still kept his hand on Philip's wrist. He looked curiously at the deformity.
"Isn't it beastly?" said Mason.
Another came in and looked too.
"Ugh," he said, in disgust.
"My word, it is rum," said Singer, making a face. "Is it hard?"
He touched it with the tip of his forefinger, cautiously, as though it were something that had a life of its own. Suddenly they heard Mr. Watson's heavy tread on the stairs. They threw the clothes back on Philip and dashed like rabbits into their cubicles. Mr. Watson came into the dormitory. Raising himself on tiptoe he could see over the rod that bore the green curtain, and he looked into two or three of the cubicles. The little boys were safely in bed. He put out the light and went out.
Singer called out to Philip, but he did not answer. He had got his teeth in the pillow so that his sobbing should be inaudible. He was not crying for the pain they had caused him, nor for the humiliation he had suffered when they looked at his foot, but with rage at himself because, unable to stand the torture, he had put out his foot of his own accord.
And then he felt the misery of his life. It seemed to his childish mind that this unhappiness must go on for ever. For no particular reason he remembered that cold morning when Emma had taken him out of bed and put him beside his mother. He had not thought of it once since it happened, but now he seemed to feel the warmth of his mother's body against his and her arms around him. Suddenly it seemed to him that his life was a dream, his mother's death, and the life at the vicarage, and these two wretched days at school, and he would awake in the morning and be back again at home. His tears dried as he thought of it. He was too unhappy, it must be nothing but a dream, and his mother was alive, and Emma would come up presently and go to bed. He fell asleep.
But when he awoke next morning it was to the clanging of a bell, and the first thing his eyes saw was the green curtain of his cubicle.


10. Sujatha 
Ch. XXVIII
"Men have always formed gods in their own image," said Weeks. "He believes in the picturesque."
Philip paused for a little while, then he said:
"I don't see why one should believe in God at all."
The words were no sooner out of his mouth than he realised that he had ceased to do so. It took his breath away like a plunge into cold water. He looked at Weeks with startled eyes. Suddenly he felt afraid. He left Weeks as quickly as he could. He wanted to be alone. It was the most startling experience that he had ever had. He tried to think it all out; it was very exciting, since his whole life seemed concerned (he thought his decision on this matter must profoundly affect its course) and a mistake might lead to eternal damnation; but the more he reflected the more convinced he was; and though during the next few weeks he read books, aids to scepticism, with eager interest it was only to confirm him in what he felt instinctively. The fact was that he had ceased to believe not for this reason or the other, but because he had not the religious temperament. Faith had been forced upon him from the outside. It was a matter of environment and example. A new environment and a new example gave him the opportunity to find himself. He put off the faith of his childhood quite simply, like a cloak that he no longer needed. At first life seemed strange and lonely without the belief which, though he never realised it, had been an unfailing support. He felt like a man who has leaned on a stick and finds himself forced suddenly to walk without assistance. It really seemed as though the days were colder and the nights more solitary. But he was upheld by the excitement; it seemed to make life a more thrilling adventure; and in a little while the stick which he had thrown aside, the cloak which had fallen from his shoulders, seemed an intolerable burden of which he had been eased. The religious exercises which for so many years had been forced upon him were part and parcel of religion to him. He thought of the collects and epistles which he had been made to learn by heart, and the long services at the Cathedral through which he had sat when every limb itched with the desire for movement; and he remembered those walks at night through muddy roads to the parish church at Blackstable, and the coldness of that bleak building; he sat with his feet like ice, his fingers numb and heavy, and all around was the sickly odour of pomatum. Oh, he had been so bored! His heart leaped when he saw he was free from all that.
He was surprised at himself because he ceased to believe so easily, and, not knowing that he felt as he did on account of the subtle workings of his inmost nature, he ascribed the certainty he had reached to his own cleverness. He was unduly pleased with himself. With youth's lack of sympathy for an attitude other than its own he despised not a little Weeks and Hayward because they were content with the vague emotion which they called God and would not take the further step which to himself seemed so obvious. One day he went alone up a certain hill so that he might see a view which, he knew not why, filled him always with wild exhilaration. It was autumn now, but often the days were cloudless still, and then the sky seemed to glow with a more splendid light: it was as though nature consciously sought to put a fuller vehemence into the remaining days of fair weather. He looked down upon the plain, a-quiver with the sun, stretching vastly before him: in the distance were the roofs of Mannheim and ever so far away the dimness of Worms. Here and there a more piercing glitter was the Rhine. The tremendous spaciousness of it was glowing with rich gold. Philip, as he stood there, his heart beating with sheer joy, thought how the tempter had stood with Jesus on a high mountain and shown him the kingdoms of the earth. To Philip, intoxicated with the beauty of the scene, it seemed that it was the whole world which was spread before him, and he was eager to step down and enjoy it. He was free from degrading fears and free from prejudice. He could go his way without the intolerable dread of hell-fire. Suddenly he realised that he had lost also that burden of responsibility which made every action of his life a matter of urgent consequence. He could breathe more freely in a lighter air. He was responsible only to himself for the things he did. Freedom! He was his own master at last. From old habit, unconsciously he thanked God that he no longer believed in Him.


11. Preeti
Reading 1:
Ch. XXI
It would be pleasant to end up his school-days with glory and then go to Oxford: in a flash there appeared before him the life which he had heard described from boys who came back to play in the O.K.S. match or in letters from the University read out in one of the studies. But he was ashamed; he would look such a fool in his own eyes if he gave in now; his uncle would chuckle at the success of the headmaster's ruse. It was rather a come-down from the dramatic surrender of all these prizes which were in his reach, because he disdained to take them, to the plain, ordinary winning of them. It only required a little more persuasion, just enough to save his self-respect, and Philip would have done anything that Mr. Perkins wished; but his face showed nothing of his conflicting emotions. It was placid and sullen.
"I think I'd rather go, sir," he said.
Mr. Perkins, like many men who manage things by their personal influence, grew a little impatient when his power was not immediately manifest. He had a great deal of work to do, and could not waste more time on a boy who seemed to him insanely obstinate.
"Very well, I promised to let you if you really wanted it, and I keep my promise. When do you go to Germany?"
Philip's heart beat violently. The battle was won, and he did not know whether he had not rather lost it.
"At the beginning of May, sir," he answered.
"Well, you must come and see us when you get back."

He held out his hand. If he had given him one more chance Philip would have changed his mind, but he seemed to look upon the matter as settled. Philip walked out of the house. His school-days were over, and he was free; but the wild exultation to which he had looked forward at that moment was not there. He walked round the precincts slowly, and a profound depression seized him. He wished now that he had not been foolish. He did not want to go, but he knew he could never bring himself to go to the headmaster and tell him he would stay. That was a humiliation he could never put upon himself. He wondered whether he had done right. He was dissatisfied with himself and with all his circumstances. 

Reading 2:
Ch. LXXVIII
He could not help his heart beating at each double knock of the postman in case there might be a letter from Mildred sent on by his landlady in London; but he knew that there would be none. Now that he could think it out more calmly he understood that in trying to force Mildred to love him he had been attempting the impossible. He did not know what it was that passed from a man to a woman, from a woman to a man, and made one of them a slave: it was convenient to call it the sexual instinct; but if it was no more than that, he did not understand why it should occasion so vehement an attraction to one person rather than another. It was irresistible: the mind could not battle with it; friendship, gratitude, interest, had no power beside it. Because he had not attracted Mildred sexually, nothing that he did had any effect upon her. The idea revolted him; it made human nature beastly; and he felt suddenly that the hearts of men were full of dark places.  
...

and himself was astonished at the weakness of his will. It seemed to him that he was swayed by every light emotion, as though he were a leaf in the wind, and when passion seized him he was powerless. He had no self-control. He merely seemed to possess it because he was indifferent to many of the things which moved other people.







No comments: