Sunday, October 21, 2007

"The secret bustle of red blood"

This Lydnam Lodge was a folly and could never pay for itself. "Every egg cost a dollar," said Grandmother Morgan; but the Lodge was a convenient place to quarantine her children as each one reaped a wild oat; and it was a senseless delight, a pleasance which she felt she would allow them. She did not care for it herself. Grandmother Morgan, once she found she could not in any way turn the place into a boarding house, stayed away from it. She missed the clink of china and glass, the endless brushings of brooms, the glimmer of clean windows, the smells of rooms overfurnished with bedspreads, toilet covers, and women. She missed the bottles hidden in boot boxes, the crystal sets, the card games — especially perhaps the big poker game at which she herself was such a hand. She liked the cutting of lawns, the consultations with plumbers and plasterers, the quantities of goods in drawers and cupboards, the bustle of company, the thieving and picking, lashing of competitors, the brawling, the fight for life. Where can you feel it more than in a hotel or in a money game? She never objected even to what went on in the rooms, if these humam frailties were kept out of sight. For that was life to her, like the secret bustle of red blood, a woman who longs and fornicates and a man who thirsts and sucks. What was there out in the country, among the chickens and plants?

— from Letty Fox: Her Luck, by Christina Stead.

No comments: