'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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March 19, 2011

The page I'm reading now...


{Or listening to, since it's an audiobook.}

      ...She redressed herself without remorse in the satin under-garments she had bought for her sister; she brushed her flaming hair; she pulled on and smoothed round her the rustling taffeta. She examined her face forgivingly in the dim greenish glass, darkening her brows, reddening her lips, not even wishing this time for the beauty which was not hers. She saw a small light figure, vivid and inhuman as a paroquet, with blazing hair and dancing eyes, rising from full skirts that floated out like a rich blue and emerald shining flower.
      It was still only quarter-past seven. She had learned to dress so quickly in her full hurried life that even now she could not force herself to be slow; yet she could not bear to wait in the cold grim room. Down the corridor she moved, her taffeta whispering across the wide landing, past the lift and down the stairs.
      She could no go straight to the lounge where she was meeting Carne. She must seek other diversion. Of course, she knew, she had a note to write.
      On the first floor landing a notice with an arrow pointed to 'Writing Room.' She followed it, and found herself in an apartment not unlike a station waiting-room. It lacked human occupants, but there was accommodation for them. Round the walls stood desks, back to back, with dusty blotting-paper, gummed to their surfaces. Inkwells in which the moisture had long since dried, cross nibs, and half-torn envelopes.
      If she had wanted to write, this equipment might have deterred her. But she wanted nothing. No words could describe, to no one could she communicate, this extraordinary rapture which had transformed the universe -- because she was going to eat a third-rate dinner in a second-rate hotel, with a ruined farmer who was father to one of her least satisfactory pupils.
-- from South Riding, by Winifred Holtby


{Image by Vivienne Strauss, found here. I love her paintings.}

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1 comment:

Vintage Reading said...

I like that extract. I saw the TV series but haven't read the book so had no idea what Holtby's writing style was like.

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