I had started out in life trusting everyone and now I trusted no one. So I had a few acquaintances and no close friends. It was perhaps in reaction against the inevitable loneliness of my life that I'd find myself doing bold, risky, even outrageous things without hesitation or surprise. I was usually disappointed in these adventures and they didn't have much effect on me, good or bad, but I never quite lost the hope of something better or different.
Almost any book was better than life, Audrey thought. Or rather, life as she was living it. Of course, life would soon change, open out, become quite different. You couldn't go on if you didn't hope that, could you? But for the time being there was no doubt that it was pleasant to get away from it. And books could take her away.
Not that she objected to solitude. Quite the contrary. She had books, thank Heaven, quantities of books. All sorts of books.
And I saw that all my life I had known that this was going to happen, and that I'd been afraid for a long time, I'd been afraid for a long time. There's fear, of course, with everybody. But now it had grown, it had grown gigantic; it filled me and it filled the whole world.
Is it true,’ she said, ‘that England is like a dream? Because one of my friends who married an Englishman wrote and told me so. She said this place London is like a cold dark dream sometimes. I want to wake up.’‘Well’, I answered annoyed, ‘that is precisely how your beautiful island seems to me, quite unreal and like a dream.’‘But how can rivers and mountains and the sea be unreal?’‘And how can millions of people, their houses and their streets be unreal?’‘More easily,’ she said, ‘much more easily. Yes a big city must be like a dream.
Your husband certainly love money,' she said. 'That is no lie Money have pretty face for everybody, but for that man money pretty like pretty self, he can't see nothing else.
I had had the job for three weeks. It was dreary. You couldn't read; they didn't like it. I would feel as if I were drugged, sitting there, watching those damned dolls, thinking what a success they would have made of their lives if they had been women. Satin skin, silk hair, velvet eyes, sawdust heart - all complete.
Well, let's argue this out, Mr Blank. You, who represent Society, have the right to pay me four hundred francs a month. That's my market value, for I am an inefficient member of Society, slow in the uptake, uncertain, slightly damaged in the fray, there's no denying it. So you have the right to pay me four hundred francs a month, to lodge me in a small, dark room, to clothe me shabbily, to harass me with worry and monotony and unsatisfied longings till you get me to the point when I blush at a look, cry at a word. We can't all be happy, we can't all be rich, we can't all be lucky - and it would be so much less fun if we were. Isn't it so, Mr Blank? There must be the dark background to show up the bright colours. Some must cry so that the others may be able to laugh the more heartily.
You are walking along a road peacefully. You trip. You fall into blackness. That's the past - or perhaps the future. And you know that there is no past, no future, there is only this blackness, changing faintly, slowly, but always the same.
No past to make us sentimental, no future to embarrass us...a difficult moment when you are out of practice - a moment that makes you go cold, cold and wary.
She had left me thirsty and all my life would be thirst and longing for what I had lost before I found it.
As for her, I'd forgotten her for the moment. So I shall never understand why, suddenly, bewilderingly, I was certain that everything I had imagined to be truth was false. False. Only the magic and the dream are true—all the rest's a lie. Let it go. Here is the secret. Here.
She spent the foggy day in endless, aimless walking, for it seemed to her that if she moved quickly enough she would escape the fear that hunted her. It was a vague and shadowy fear of something cruel and stupid that had caught her and would never let her go. She had always known that it was there - hidden under the more of less pleasant surface of things. Always. Ever since she was a child.You could argue about hunger or cold or loneliness, but with that fear you couldn't argue. It went too deep. You were too mysteriously sure of its terror. You could only walk very fast and try to leave it behind you.
Stephan was secretive and a liar, but he was a very gentle and expert lover. She was the petted, cherished child, the desired mistress, the worshipped, perfumed goddess. She was all these things to Stephan - or so he made her believe.
These people all fling themselves at me. Because I am uneasy and sad they all fling themselves at me larger than life. But I can put my arm up to avoid the impact and they slide gently to the ground. Individualists, completely wrapped up in themselves, thank God. It's the extrovert, prancing around, dying for a bit of fun - that's the person you've got to be wary of.
I've had enough of these streets that sweat a cold, yellow slime, of hostile people, of crying myself to sleep every night. I've had enough of thinking, enough of remembering.
Very soon she'll join all the others who know the secret and will not tell it. Or cannot. Or try and fail because they do not know enough. They can be recognized. White faces, dazed eyes, aimless gestures, high-pitched laughter. The way they walk and talk and scream or try to kill (themselves or you) if you laugh back at them. Yes, they've got to be watched. For the time comes when they try to kill, then disappear. But others are waiting to take their places, it's a long, long line. She's one of them. I too can wait—for the day when she is only a memory to be avoided, locked away, and like all memories a legend. Or a lie ...
Well, that was the end of me, the real end. Two pound ten every Tuesday and a room of the Gray's Inn Road. Saved, rescued and with my place to hide in - what more did I want? I crept in and hid. The lid of the coffin shut down with a bang. Now I no longer wish to be loved, beautiful, happy or successful. I want one thing and one thing only - to be left alone. No more pawings, no more pryings - leave me alone.
It was like letting go and falling back into water and seeing yourself grinning up through the water, your face like a mask, and seeing the bubbles coming up as if you were trying to speak from under the water. And how do you know what it's like to try to speak from under water when you're drowned?
When he talked his eyes went away from mine and then he forced himself to look straight at me and he began to explain and I knew that he felt very strange with me and that he hated me, and it was funny sitting there and talking like that, knowing he hated me.
One realized all sorts of things. The value of an illusion, for instance, and that the shadow can be more important than the substance. All sorts of things.
Justice. I've heard that word. I tried it out. I wrote it down. I wrote it down several times and always it looked like a damn cold lie to me. There is no justice.
And I’ll look back at him because I shan’t be able to help it, remembering about being young, and about being made love to and making love, about pain and dancing and not being afraid of death, about all music I’ve ever loved, and every time I’ve been happy.
When you are a child you are yourself and you know and see everything prophetically. And then suddenly something happens and you stop being yourself, you become what others force you to be. You lose your wisdom and your soul.
The last time you were happy about nothing, the first time you were afraid about nothing. Which came first?
Now I no longer wish to be loved, beautiful, happy or successful. I want one thing and one thing only - to be left alone.
Quite alone. No voice, no touch, no hand....How long must I lie here? For ever? No, only for a couple of hundred years this time, miss....
Now, money, for the night is coming. Money for my hair, money for my teeth, money for shoes that won't deform my feet (it's not so easy now to walk around in cheap shoes with very high heels), money for good clothes, money, money. The night is coming.