15 March 2008

The Enchanted April

Last night and today I read The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. It reminded me of a lot of other novels at the close of Victorianism, but I liked it. Here are some favorite parts:

"For years she had been able to be happy only by forgetting happiness. She wanted to stay like that. She wanted to shut out everything that would remind her of beautiful things, that might set her off again longing, desiring . . ." (15).

"To be missed, to be needed, from whatever motive, was, she thought, better than the complete loneliness of not being missed or needed at all" (28).

"There was a sense of broken ice; they felt at once intimate and indulgent; almost they felt to him as nurses do,--as those feel who have assisted either patients or young children at their baths. They were acquainted with Mr. Wilkins's legs" (172).

"And the more he treated her as though she were really very nice, the more Lotty expanded and became really very nice, and the more he, affected in his turn, became really very nice himself; so that they went round and round, not in a vicious but in a highly virtuous circle" (185).

"How passionately she longed to be important to somebody again, --not important on platforms, not important as an asset in an organisation, but privately important, just to one other person, quite privately, nobody else to know or notice. It didn't seem much to ask in a world so crowded with people, just to have one of them, only one out of all the millions, to oneself. Somebody who needed one, who thought of one, who was eager to come to one -- oh, oh how dreadfully one wanted to be precious!" (201).

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