Against the Grain – Wikisource
“There’s more to life than books, you know. But not much more.”
“Nothing however had been of such aid to her as the silence, unless it were the chains. The chains and the silence which ought to have sealed her isolated self within twenty impenetrable walls, to have asphyxiated her, strangled her, hadn’t; to the contrary, they’d been her deliverance, liberating her from herself. What might have become of her had speech been accorded her and freedom granted her hands, had the faculty of free will been hers when her lover prostituted her while he looked on? She had spoken, it is true, under torture; but may one designate as words these which are only plaints and screams? Again, they often stilled her with gags.
Beneath those stares, beneath those hands, beneath those sexes which raped her, beneath those lashes which tore her, she sank, lost in a delirious absence from herself which gave her unto love and loving, and may perhaps have brought her close to death and dying. She was – who? anyone at all, no-one, someone else….”
“Oh, Nina, what a lot of parties.”
“Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Wild West parties, Russian parties, Circus parties, parties where one had to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St John’s Wood, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and night clubs, in windmills and swimming-baths, tea parties at school where one ate muffins and meringues and tinned crab, parties at Oxford where one drank brown sherry and smoked Turkish cigarettes, dull dances in London and comic dances in Scotland and disgusting dances in Paris – all that succession and repetition of massed humanity…those vile bodies…”
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“Like an eremite, he was ripe for solitude, harassed by life’s stress, expecting nothing more of existence; like a monk again, he was overwhelmed with an immense fatigue, a craving for peace and quiet, a longing to have nothing more to do henceforth with the vulgar, who were in his eyes all utilitarians and fools.”