14 July 2010

from The French Lieutenant's Woman (John Fowles)

He had thought by his brief gesture and assurance to take the first step towards putting out the fire the doctor had told him he had lit; but when one is oneself the fuel, firefighting is a hopeless task.


He was invited to use the Athenaeum, he had shaken hands with a senator, no less; and with the wrinkled claw of one even greater, if less hectoringly loquacious - old Nathaniel Lodge, who had heard the cannon on Bunker Hill from his nurse's room in Beacon Street. An even greater still, whom one might have not very interestedly chatted to if one had chanced to gain entry to the Lowell circle in Cambridge, and who was himself on the early threshold of a decision precisely the opposite in its motives and predispositions, a ship, as it were, straining at its moorings in a contrary current and arming for its sinuous and loxodromic voyage to the richer though silted harbour of Rye (but I must not ape the master), Charles did not meet.


Once, as he made his way to the Athenaeum across the Common, he saw a girl ahead of him on an oblique path. He strode across the grass, he was so sure. But she was not Sarah. And he had to stammer an apology. He went on his way shaken, so intense in those few moments had been his excitement. The next day he advertised in a Boston newspaper. Wherever he went after that he advertised.

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