Friday, August 27, 2010

The Bachelors by Muriel Spark


"I got a young woman into trouble at the age of eighteen," Walter said. "Daughter of one of our footmen. He was an Irish fellow. The butler caught him reading Nietzsche in the pantry. To the detriment of the silver. Of course there was no question of my marrying his daughter. The family made a settlement, and I went abroad to paint. My hair turned white at the age of nineteen."

He resolved to go to confession, less to rid himself of the past night's thoughts - since his priest made a distinction between sins of thought and these convulsive dances and dialogues of the mind - than to receive, in absolution, a friendly gesture of recognition from the maker of heaven and earth, vigilant manipulator of the falling sickness.

It is all demonology and to do with creatures of the air, and there are others beside ourselves, he thought, who lie in their beds like happy countries that have no history.

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