2 september 2009

a dalliance

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4 september 2009

Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet. Hardly had she brought one gentleman into the little pantry behind the office on the ground floor and helped him off with his overcoat than the wheezy hall-door bell clanged again and she had to scamper along the bare hallway to let in another guest. It was well for her she had not to attend to the ladies also. But Miss Kate and Miss Julia had thought of that and had converted the bathroom upstairs into a ladies' dressing-room. Miss Kate and Miss Julia were there, gossiping and laughing and fussing, walking after each other to the head of the stairs, peering down over the banisters and calling down to Lily to ask her who had come.

- Joyce, The Dead, 1913

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
For Lucy had her work cut out for her. The doors would be taken off their hinges; Rumpelmayer's men were coming. And then, thought Clarissa Dalloway, what a morning--fresh as if issued to children on a beach.

- Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, 1925

It's often said of Mrs Dalloway that it was heavily influenced by Ulysses, but look at the parallels between these two opening paragraphs: even down to the name of the servant.

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5 september 2009

mushrooms again

Bergman, Summer With Monika, 1953

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6 september 2009

A few stragglers were standing outside the Ballast Office . . . waiting for the ball to rise on its pole on the roof. That would mark twelve o'clock, and the time was exact because it was sent in from the Observatory at Dunsink: sidereal time by which people set their watches. Why I cannot say because no-one in Dublin cares whether the time is exact or not and those who were watching the ball did not look as if they owned a watch. Perhaps it gave an air of earnestness to the day.

- Oliver Gogarty, It Isn't This Time of Year At All

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13 september 2009

He . . . thrust his hands into the snow like a baker making bread. As he delved and moulded the snow into loaves, saying under his breath, 'This is the way it is done, ladies and gentlemen,' Edith raised her head and said, 'Patricia, promise me, don't be cross with him. Let's all be quiet and friendly.'

- Dylan Thomas, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog

Found it at last! I've been thinking about this quote for years: a perfect example of the alternate universe that children (and us, of course) live in. It's been tucked away on the shelves all along, waiting for a re-read. Couldn't guess where it came from and without the exact wording Google and Amazon were unable to help. My last-ditch attempt was going to be trawling through L.P. Hartley's Shrimp and the Anemone, but now I'm spared that.

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