You can't go through the looking-glass without getting cut. You know that now, don't you?
Happiness. What's that? I don't know. How can one be happy when one loves a demon?
She tasted for the first time honey-sweet and dangerous happiness: dangerous because, as she before long began to learn, precarious.
Ludens felt again that special curious anguish caused by glimpses of a happiness he would have felt if only things were different — which could be different, perhaps could easily be different — but somehow maddeningly were not.
Oh Christ, if I could only have some happiness.
Happiness must exist. It can't all be made of pain. But what is happiness made of?
It's just that I don't hope any more, I've lost my nerve.
But by now anything was better than hope.
There is a kind of despair involved in creation which I am sure any artist knows all about. In art, as in morality, great things go by the board because at the crucial moment we blink our eyes. When is the crucial moment? Greatness is to recognize it and be able to hold it and to extend it. But for most of us the space between 'dreaming on things to come' and 'it is too late, it is all over' is too tiny to enter. And so we let each thing go, thinking vaguely that it will always be given to us to try again. Thus works of art, and thus whole lives of men, are spoilt by blinking and moving quickly on. I often found that I had ideas for stories, but by the time I had thought them out in detail they seemed to me hardly worth writing, as if I had already 'done' them: not because they were bad, but because they already belonged to the past and I had lost interest. My thoughts were soon stale to me. Some things I ruined by starting them too soon. Others by thinking them so intensely in my head that they were over before they began. Projects would change in a second from hazy uncommitted dreams into unsalvageable ancient history. Whole novels existed only in their titles.
There are eternal bonds which are made in registry offices and in churches, there are eternal bonds which are made in other and stranger and more terrible ways.
Why do I always have to be helping people . . . and getting no help myself?
I must stay with you, stay near you, do your will, or die.
Your best friends are in trouble and you say 'of course' and forget them instantly.
I am sorry that our friendship, or whatever name one may give to the obsessive relationship which has bound us together for so many years, should end in this way. This is not the place to utter its elegy.
Most friendships are a sort of frozen and undeveloping semi-hostility.
I want to be cut off from people like Marloe. Being a real person oneself is a matter of setting up limits and drawing lines and saying no. I don't want to be a nebulous bit of ectoplasm straying around in other people's lives. That sort of vague sympathy with everybody precludes any real understanding of anybody . . . And it precludes any real loyalty to anybody.
I shall not attempt here to describe my marriage. Some impression of it will doubtless emerge. For the present story, its general nature rather than its detail is important. It was not a success. At first I saw her as a life-bringer. Then I saw her as a death-bringer. Some women are like that. There is a sort of energy which seems to reveal the world: then one day you find you are being devoured. Fellow victims will know what I mean. Possibly I am a natural bachelor.
A marriage is a very secret place.
We are all potentially demons to each other, but some close relationships are saved from this fate.
Christ, I loathe women. But I can't get going on the other tack either. And you needn't blush and look coy, I never fancied you. I know what you got up to with Fritzie Eitel! No—but I'd have had old Wilfred if he'd asked me. What did old Wilfred do for sex? No one ever knew. Perhaps he didn't have any, and if so good on him.