Sunday, December 24, 2017

a conspiracy

He left the guests alone a moment,—the lady was not yet to be seen,—Malt sat on an ottoman,—the children had satirical looks,—in short, Impudence dwelt in this house as in her temple. Ridicule had no effect upon the old man, and he only countermanded what displeased himself, not what displeased others.

At length the rosy-cheeked wife of the physician flourished into the apartment,—as preparatory course or preamble of the dinner,—with three or four esprits or feathers in her cap,—with a dapple neck-apron,—in a red ball-dress, from which waltzing had taken out the color in which she had rouged,—and with a perforated fancy-fan.

(Jean Paul Richter, Titan, 1803, tr. Charles T. Brooks)

If only every one would stop for a moment and let the thing that was always hovering there, let it settle and intensify. But the whole of life was a conspiracy to prevent it. Was there something wrong in it? It could not be a coincidence the way life always did that … she had reached the little conservatory on the half-landing, darkened with a small forest of aspidistra.

(Dorothy Richardson, The Tunnel, 1919)

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