Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You must know I know how it felt

.. to learn you held the ground lease, on your own damned paper route: a little something grandpa set aside for you, before you were even born. You never met him, he didn't live to see you scream. Now, you do, and where is he to plead with, Get me out of this, let everyone's home be his own. We can handle it. Grandpa, I love you, but we can handle it.

We find a web full of paperboys who think they're the news, and taunt the tenants to imitate themselves. Was this great resource, too, given to us for this? And if so, what is proper to see reproduced of us?

I am going to raise that question generically, with deep revulsion that it has even entered my mind .. again. But it is the great question Waugh asked Mitford about that finger of fate, that stray shot at the front which leapfrogged her to Honnerie, a sop she didn't need and flaunted poorly. She had a larger heart and a finer wit than he, but he was right to mourn her misconception of her place. I did not come to this page except to celebrate the virtues that lend strength to growing minds, and keep them steady after; and the sweet things of their sustenance that are proper to preserve.

But I did see the worst in souls betray their better places long before. Not for nothing does the word invidious impart its moral content by its sound. Dabblers in snobbery infest le paradis with such panic in themselves, that the entire plate of their nourishment falls flat upon their palate, and turns friend on friend in shame to know their name.
I will plead here for one of them to stop this nonsense, fast. It is insufferably vulgar, but it's for the merry gifts it wastes that I present this sorry comment. It violates the experience of love, to see its surface incidentals claimed as an excuse, where there is no excuse required.

Evelyn Waugh
An Open Letter ..
Encounter, 1954©

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