16 December 2010

from Linnets and Valerians, chapter 2, Where they went (Elizabeth Goudge)

'Betsy never takes cold,' she reassured him. 'Timothy does, but I'll make him keep his combinations on.'

'Combinations of what?' asked the elderly gentleman.

'Just combinations,' said Nan. 'What we wear next to our skins.'

'Ah,' said the elderly gentleman. 'Combinations. I must behold them at some future and more suitable occasion, for the extension of knowledge has always been of prime importance to me. Good night.'

from Period Piece, chapter IV, Education (Gwen Raverat)

School upset me very much at first, and I did not think that I could survive it, when the poison gas of homesickness settled down over my head, with its indescribably nausea. Though it was not really home-sickness, for I did not want to go home, only to escape into an air which I could breathe. I remember the first morning, kneeling at prayers (an alarming rite to me), and staring out of the window, when my eyes ought to have been tight shut, and thinking: 'If only I could get out into that garden, perhaps I might feel better; anyhow there are some quite ordinary trees there, and some real grass' - for everything inside the house seemed to be tainted with a nightmare horror.