“I am a fool,” said Richard Lovat, which was the most frequent discovery he made. It came, moreover, every time with a new shock of surprise and chagrin. Every time he climbed a new mountain range and looked over, he saw, not only a new world, but a big anticipatory fool on this side of it, namely, himself.
Now a novel is supposed to be a mere record of emotion-adventures, flounderings in feelings. We insist that a novel is, or should be, also a thought-adventure, if it is to be anything at all complete.
“I am a fool,” thought Richard to himself, “to imagine that I can flounder in a sympathetic universe like a fly in the ointment.” We think of ourselves, we think of the ointment, but we do not consider the fly. It fell into the ointment, crying: “Ah, here is a pure and balmy element in which all is unalloyed goodness. Here is attar of roses without a thorn.” Hence the fly in the ointment: embalmed in balm. And our repugnance.Text
“I am a fool,” said Richard to himself, “to be floundering round in this easy, cosy, all-so-friendly world. I feel like a fly in the ointment. For heaven’s sake let me get out. I suffocate.”
The whole of a child’s development goes on from the great dynamic centers, and is basically non-mental. To introduce mental activity is to arrest the dynamic activity, and stultify true dynamic development. By the age of twenty-one our young people are helpless, hopeless, selfless, floundering mental entities, with nothing in front of them, because they have been starved from the roots, systematically, for twenty-one years, and fed through the head. They have had all their mental excitements, sex and everything, all through the head, and when it comes to the actual thing, why, there’s nothing in it. Blasé. The affective centers have been exhausted from the head.Text
Ba. Who knows what they’re always flying for. Insects? That bee last week got into the room playing with his shadow on the ceiling. Might be the one bit me, come back to see. Birds too. Never find out. Or what they say. Like our small talk. And says she and says he. Nerve they have to fly over the ocean and back. Lots must be killed in storms, telegraph wires. Dreadful life sailors have too. Big brutes of oceangoing steamers floundering along in the dark, lowing out like seacows. Faugh a ballagh! Out of that, bloody curse to you! Others in vessels, bit of a handkerchief sail, pitched about like snuff at a wake when the stormy winds do blow. Married too. Sometimes away for years at the ends of the earth somewhere. No ends really because it’s round. Wife in every port they say. She has a good job if she minds it till Johnny comes marching home again. If ever he does. Smelling the tail end of ports. How can they like the sea? Yet they do. The anchor’s weighed. Off he sails with a scapular or a medal on him for luck. Well.Text