15 June 2011

The wind sends its spies. . .

We're currently reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse in the 20th Century Literature class.   Not an easy novel to navigate; however, there are some excellent moments. . .some truly wonderful examples of superb writing.  The two passages below are taken from "Time Passes," the "bridge section" of the novel, that is, the middle bit that connects the two larger bits:

"And now in the heat of summer the wind sent its spies about the house again. Flies wove a web in the sunny rooms; weeds that had grown close to the glass in the night tapped methodically at the window pane. When darkness fell, the stroke of the Lighthouse, which had laid itself with such authority upon the carpet in the darkness, tracing its pattern, came now in the softer light of spring mixed with moonlight gliding gently as if it laid its caress and lingered steathily and looked and came lovingly again. But in the very lull of this loving caress, as the long stroke leant upon the bed, the rock was rent asunder; another fold of the shawl loosened; there it hung, and swayed. Through the short summer nights and the long summer days, when the empty rooms seemed to murmur with the echoes of the fields and the hum of flies, the long streamer waved gently, swayed aimlessly; while the sun so striped and barred the rooms and filled them with yellow haze that Mrs.
McNab, when she broke in and lurched about, dusting, sweeping, looked like a tropical fish oaring its way through sun-lanced waters.

But slumber and sleep though it might there came later in the summer ominous sounds like the measured blows of hammers dulled on felt, which, with their repeated shocks still further loosened the shawl and cracked the tea-cups. Now and again some glass tinkled in the cupboard as if a giant voice had shrieked so loud in its agony that tumblers stood inside a cupboard vibrated too. Then again silence fell; and then, night after night, and sometimes in plain mid-day when the roses were bright and light turned on the wall its shape clearly there seemed to drop into this silence, this indifference, this integrity, the thud of something falling."

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1 comment:

  1. Among Wolfe's seduced and curious and having on a near yesterday committed talk of winds and spirits and even Wind and Spirit to my pen, I wonder of which spirit here breath intrudes and loves without affection. To the Lighthouse go I to wonder no more, though that my way and certainty Wolfe will confound I doubt not.

    Thank you thank you Father :) . Your ministry is far reaching. This was just the sort of breach and shock to an off-course morning that I needed.