Citati iz knjige „Cold Comfort Farm“ autora Stella Gibbons

I do not propose that you shall found a life-philosophy upon “Our Lives from Day to Day”, Elfine. I merely make you read it because you will have to meet people who do that kind of thing, and you must on no account be all dewy and awed when you do meet them. You can, if you like, secretly despise them. Nor must you talk about Marie Laurencin to people who hunt. They will merely think she is your new mare. No. I tell you of these things in order that you may have some standards, within yourself, with which secretly to compare the many new facts and people you will meet if you enter a new life.’
“Gee, ma’am, I know it’s raw,” shouted Mr Neck, craning out of the window of the car and peering up at Aunt Ada. “I know it’s tough. But, gee, that’s life, girl. You’re living now, sweetheart. All that woodshed line... that was years ago. Young Woodley stuff. Aw, I respect a grandmother’s feelings, sweetheart, but honest, I just can’t give him up. He’ll send you five grand out of his first film.”
I saw something in the woodshed!”
“Did it see you?” asked Mr Neck, tucking himself into the car beside Seth. The engine started, and the chauffeur began to back out of the yard.
“I saw something nasty in the woodshed.”
Flora turned to Judith, with raised and inquiring eyebrows. A murmur came from the rest of the company, which was watching closely.
“’Tes one of her bad nights,” said Judith, whose gaze kept wandering piteously in the direction of Seth (he was wolfing beef in the corner). “Mother,” she said, louder, “don’t you know me? It’s Judith. I have brought Flora Poste to see you-Robert Poste’s child.”
“Nay... I saw something nasty in the woodshed,” said Aunt Ada Doom, fretfully moving her great head from side to side. ““Twas a burnin’ noonday... sixty-nine years ago. And me no bigger than a titty-wren. And I saw something na—”
“Well, perhaps she likes it better that way,” said Flora soothingly. She had been observing Aunt Ada’s firm chin, clear eyes, tight little mouth, and close grip upon the Milk Producers’ Weekly Bulletin and Cowkeepers’ Guide, and she came to the conclusion that if Aunt Ada was mad, then she, Flora, was one of the Marx Brothers.
Everybody was staring at the door. The silence was terrific. It seemed the air must burst with its pressure, and the flickering movement of the light and the fireglow upon the faces of the Starkadders was so restlessly volatile that it emphasized the strange stillness of their bodies. Flora was trying to decide just what the kitchen looked like, and came to the conclusion it was the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussaud’s.
“Indeed, yes. Mrs Starkadder, her grandmother, has always intended Elfine to marry her cousin, Urk. I am afraid there may be some opposition from him too. In fact, the sooner you can arrange for the marriage to take place the better it will be for Elfine. “
“Oh, dear! I had hoped for a year’s engagement, at least Dick is still so young.”
“The more reason why he should begin at once to be utterly happy,” smiled Flora.
“Can we be sure that an elephant’s real name is elephant? Only mankind presumes to name God’s creatures; God himself is silent upon the matter.”
The intelligent and sensitive reader will doubtless have wondered at intervals throughout this narrative how Flora managed about a bathroom. The answer is simple. At Cold Comfort there was no bathroom. And when Flora had asked Adam how the family themselves managed for baths, he had replied coldly: “We manages w”hout,” and the vision of dabblings and chillinesses and inadequacies thus conjured had so repelled Flora that she had pursued her inquiries no further.
She had discovered, however, that that refreshing woman, Mrs Beetle, owned a hip-bath, in which she would permit Flora to bathe every other evening at eight o’clock for a small weekly sum, and this Flora did, and the curtailment of her seven weekly baths to four was by far the most unpleasant experience she had so far had to endure at the farm.
But this evening, just when baths were needed, baths were impossible. So Flora put two enormous noggins of water on the stove in the kitchen to get hot, and hoped for the best.
“But I thought you liked having girls after you?”
“Nay. I only likes the talkies. I don’t mind takin’ a girl out if she will let me, but many’s the girl I’ve niver seen again because she worried me in the middle of a talkie. Aye, they’re all the same. They must have yer blood and yer breath and ivery bit of yer time and yer thoughts. But I’m not like that. I just likes the talkies.”
“Why,” asked Julia, “do you want to see a play like that?”
“I don’t, but I think it would be so good for Elfine, so that she will know what to avoid when she is married.”
In the evening she proposed that the three of them should visit the Pit Theatre, in Stench Street, Seven Dials, to see a new play by Brandt Slurb called “Manallalive-O!”, a Neo-Expressionist attempt to give dramatic form to the mental reactions of a man employed as a waiter in a restaurant who dreams that he is the double of another man who is employed as a steward on a liner, and who, on awakening and realizing that he is still a waiter employed in a restaurant and not a steward employed on a liner, goes mad and shoots his reflection in a mirror and dies. It had seventeen scenes and only one character. A pest-house, a laundry, a lavatory, a court of law, a room in a lepers’ settlement, and the middle of Piccadilly Circus were included in the scenes.
Flora hoped that they would all see the note and have their curiosity satisfied, or else they would all go blaming each other, and when she came home there would be a shocking atmosphere of rows and uncomfortableness.
“I did. F. Poste.”
“On the contrary,” said Flora, firmly, “most young men are alarmed on hearing that a young woman writes poetry. Combined with an ill-groomed head of hair and an eccentric style of dress, such an admission is almost fatal.”
“I shall write it secretly, and publish it when I am fifty,” said Elfine, rebelliously.
Elfine progressed. Her charming nature and Flora’s wise advice met and mingled naturally. Only over poetry was there a little struggle. Flora warned Elfine that she must write no more poetry if she wanted to marry into the county.
“I thought poetry was enough,” said Elfine, wistfully. “I mean, I thought poetry was so beautiful that if you met someone you loved, and you told them you wrote poetry, that would be enough to make them love you, too. “
On this occasion she had found Judith lying face downwards in the furrows of Ticklepenny’s Corner, weeping. In reply to her question, Judith had said that anybody might do anything they pleased, so long as she was left alone with her sorrow. Flora took this generous statement to mean that she might pay for the jam.
For it is a peculiarity of persons who lead rich emotional lives and who (as the saying is) live intensely and with a wild poetry, that they read all kinds of meanings into comparatively simple actions, especially the actions of other people, who do not live intensely and with a wild poetry. Thus you may find them weeping passionately on their bed, and be told that you—you alone—are the cause because you said that awful thing to them at lunch. Or they wonder why you like going to concerts; there must be more in it than meets the eye.
“She’m own daughter to Micah’s Susan by her first mar-riage. Her marriage to Mark, I mean; and Mark, he’s own half-brother to Amos, who is Micah’s cousin. So ’tes rather confusin”, like. Aye, poor Rennet...”
Flora had meant him to do. Her disinclination to sit in the damp, smelly bus had fought with her disinclination to drive home with a Starkadder, and the bus had lost. Besides, she was always glad to see more of the private lives of the Starkadders. Harkaway might be able to tell her something about Urk, who was supposed to be going to marry Elfine.
She began to make conversation.
“How is the well getting on?” (Not that she cared.)
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