The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own. -- Adam Gopnik



September 4, 2014

In September





      The jacmanna was bright violet; the wall staring white. She would not have considered it honest to tamper with the bright violet and the staring white, since she saw them like that, fashionable though it was, since Mr. Paunceforte's visit, to see everything pale, elegant, semitransparent. Then beneath the colour there was the shape. She could see it all so clearly, so commandingly, when she looked; it was when she took her brush in hand that the whole thing changed ... And it was then, too, in that chill and windy way, as she began to paint, that there forced themselves upon her other things, her own inadequacy, her insignificance, keeping house for her father off the Brompton Road, and had much ado to control her impulse to fling herself (thank Heaven she had resisted so far) at Mrs. Ramsay's knee and say to her -- but what could one say to her? 'I'm in love with you?' No, that was not true. 'I'm in love with this all,' waving her hand at the hedge, at the house, at the children. It was absurd, it was impossible. So now she laid her brushes neatly in the box, side by side, and said to William Bankes:
      'It suddenly gets cold. The sun seems to give less heat,' she said, looking about her, for it was bright enough, the grass still a soft deep green, the house starred in its greenery with purple passion flowers, and rooks dropping cool cries from the high blue. But something moved, flashed, turned a silver wing in the air. It was September, after all, the middle of September, and past six in the evening. So off they strolled down the garden in the usual direction, past the tennis lawn, past the pampas grass. to that break in the thick hedge, guarded by red hot pokers like brassiers of clear burning coal, between which the blue waters of the bay looked bluer than ever.

from To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

{The painting is Woman with a Red Umbrella on the Beach, by Alfred Stevens, found here.}


2 comments:

Bellezza Mjs said...

It's so odd to me that I didn't like To the Lighthouse very much at all, and yet I'm entranced by your photo first and the passage next. As if it was all new to me, which is, I suppose, one of the lovely things about book blogging with friends.

Cosy Books said...

That's beautiful, Audrey. You simply can't rush a book full of prose like that, can you.