26 February 2007

from Still Life, chapter 18, Hic Ille Raphael (A.S. Byatt)

He was thin and slightly stooping, with pale blue eyes and crests and troughs of wavy red-gold hair, which looked at first glance as though some 1930s perm had gone badly wrong, and could then immediately be seen to be inexorably what it was, growing as it did, with only one possible shape.


Part of the joy of falling in love – for the intelligent, the watchers, the judicious – is the delicious licence to set something above thinking clearly, the pleasure of being driven, taken over, overwhelmed. Frederica, despite her clumsy rushes of tactless fervour, was doomed to be intelligent, a watcher, judicious, and as she recognised this doom she desired proportionately to be let off, to feel incontrovertibly.


She wandered back through clear grey Cambridge. He had made her head ache. He had lent her books – that was a beginning, lending of books was a universal sign of the beginning of something. To borrow implied to return.

No comments: