The broken pink pillars, in the half-light, might have been waiting to fall down on him: the pool, covered with green scum, its steps torn away and hanging by one rotting clamp, to close over his head. The shattered evil-smelling chapel, overgrown with weeds, the crumbling walls, splashed with urine, on which scorpions lurked - wrecked entablature, sad archivolt, slippery stones covered with excreta - this place, where love had once brooded, seemed part of a nightmare.
Ah, the harbour bells of Cambridge! Whose fountains in moonlight and closed courts and cloisters, whose enduring beauty in its virtuous remote self-assurance, seemed part, less of the loud mosaic of one's stupid life there, though maintained perhaps by the countless deceitful memories of such lives, than the strange dream of some old monk, eight hundred years dead, whose forbidding house, reared upon piles and stakes driven into the marshy ground, had once shone like a beacon out of the mysterious silence, and solitude of the fens. A dream jealously guarded: Keep off the Grass. And yet whose unearthly beauty compelled one to say: God forgive me.
All of them, you see, misfits, all good for nothing, cowards, baboons, meek wolves, parasites, every man jack of them, people afraid to face their own responsibilities, fight their own fight, ready to go anywhere, as Tolstoy well perceived—
Closing his eyes again, standing there, glass in hand, he thought for a minute with a freezing detached almost amused calm of the dreadful night inevitably awaiting him whether he drank much more or not, his room shaking with daemonic orchestras, the snatches of fearful tumultuous sleep, interrupted by voices which were really dogs barking, or by his own name being continually repeated by imaginary parties arriving, the vicious shouting, the strumming, the slamming, the pounding, the battling with insolent archfiends, the avalanche breaking down the door, the proddings from under the bed, and always, outside, the cries, the wailing, the terrible music, the dark’s spinets: he returned to the bar.
—And yet, he was thinking all over again, and all over again as for the first time, how he had suffered, suffered, suffered without her; indeed such desolation, such a desperate sense of abandonment bereavement, as during this last year without Yvonne, he had never known in his life, unless it was when his mother died. But this present emotion he had never experienced with his mother: this urgent desire to hurt, to provoke, at a time when forgiveness alone could save the day, this, rather, had commenced with his stepmother, so that she would have to cry:—“I can’t eat, Geoffrey, the food sticks in my throat!” It was hard to forgive, hard, hard to forgive. Harder still, not to say how hard it was, I hate you. Even now, of all times. Even though here was God’s moment, the chance to agree, to produce the card, to change everything; or there was but a moment left … Too late. The Consul had controlled his tongue. But he felt his mind divide and rise, like the two halves of a counterpoised drawbridge, ticking, to permit
Haven’t you got any tenderness or love left for me at all?” Yvonne asked suddenly, almost piteously, turning round on him, and he thought: Yes, I do love you, I have all the love in the world left for you, only that love seems so far away from me and so strange too, for it is as though I could almost hear it, a droning or a weeping, but far, far away, and a sad lost sound, it might be either approaching or receding, I can’t tell which. “Don’t you think of anything except of how many drinks you’re going to have?
Ah, in how many rooms, upon how many studio couches, among how many books, had they found their own love, their marriage, their life together, a life which, in spite of its many disasters, its total calamity indeed -- and in spite too of any slight element of falsehood in its inception on her side, her marriage partly into the past, into her Anglo-Scottish ancestry, into the visioned empty ghost-whistling castles in Sutherland, into an emanation of gaunt lowland uncles chumbling shortbread at six o'clock in the morning -- had not been without triumph. (p.210)
A starving pariah dog with the appearance of having lately been skinned had squeezed itself in after the last man; it looked up at the Consul with beady, gentle eyes. Then, thrusting down its poor wrecked dinghy of a chest, from which raw withered breasts drooped, it began to bow and scrape before him. Ah, the ingress of the animal kingdom! Earlier it had been the insects; now these were closing in upon him again, these animals, these people without ideas: "Dispense usted, por Dios," he whispered to the dog, then wanting to say something kind, added, stooping, a phrase read or heard in youth or childhood: "For God sees how timid and beautiful you really are, and the thoughts of hope that go with you like little white birds--
And the earth itself still turning on its axis and revolving around that sun, the sun revolving around the luminous wheel of this galaxy, the countless unmeasured jewelled wheels of countless unmeasured galaxies, turning, turning, majestically, into infinity, into eternity, through all of which all life ran on—all this, long after she herself was dead, men would still be reading in the night sky, and as the earth turned through those distant seasons, and they watched the constellations still rising, culminating, setting, to rise again—Aries, Taurus, Gemini, the Crab, Leo, Virgo, the Scales and the Scorpion, Capricorn the Sea-goat and Aquarius the Water Bearer, Pisces, and once more, triumphantly, Aries!—would they not, too, still be asking the hopeless eternal question: to what end? What force drives this sublime celestial machinery?
To-night, as ages hence, people would say this, or shut their doors on them, turn in bereaved agony from them, or toward them with love saying: “That is our star up there, yours and mine”; steer by them above the clouds or lost at sea, or standing in the spray on the forecastle head, watch them, suddenly, careen; put their faith or lack of it in them; train, in a thousand observatories, feeble telescopes upon them, across whose lenses swam mysterious swarms of stars and clouds of dead dark stars, catastrophes of exploding suns, or giant Antares raging to its end—a smouldering ember yet five hundred times greater than the earth’s sun.
Voda je još cureći u bazen - Bože, kako umrtvljujuće sporo - ispunjavala tišinu između njih...Bilo je tu još nešto: Konzulu se činilo da još čuje glazbu plesa što mora da je već davno prestao, i kao da je tu tišinu prožimao uminuli tutanj bubnjeva. Parija: to je značilo i bubnjeve. Parian. Ta je gotovo opipljivo odsutna glazba bez dvojbe stvarala tako neobičnu iluziju da su se stabla naizgled tresla u taktu s njom, iluziju što je ne samo vrt nego i ravnicu iza njega, cijeli prizor pred njihovim očima, ispunjala užasom, užasom nepodnosive nestvarnosti. To mora da nije nenalik, rekao je sebi, onome što neka luda osoba trpi u onim trenucima kad, dok bezopasno sjedi u dvorištu ludnice, ludilo iznenada prestaje biti utočište i utjelovljuje se u nebu što se razmrskava i cijeloj okolini, u čijoj prisutnosti razum, već onijemio, može samo pognuti glavu. Nalazi li luđak u takvim trenucima, dok mu misli poput topovskih kugla grme mozgom, utjehu u nježnoj ljepoti parka ludnice ili obližnjih bregova s onu stranu užasnog dimnjaka? Teško, osjećao je Konzul. A glede one posebne ljepote, znao je da je ona mrtva kao i njegov brak, i hotimice zaklana.