From A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man
By James Joyce
His hat had come down on his forehead. He shoved it back: and in the shadow of the trees Stephen saw his pale face, framed by the dark, and his large dark eyes. Yes. His face was handsome: and his body was strong and hard. He had spoken of a mother's love. He felt then the sufferings of women, the weaknesses of their bodies and souls: and would shield them with a strong and resolute arm and bow his mind to them.
Away then: it is time to go. A voice spoke softly to Stephen's lonely heart, bidding him go and telling him that his friendship was coming to an end. Yes; he would go. He could not strive against another. He knew his part.
-- Probably I shall go away, he said.
-- Where? Cranly asked.
-- Where I can, Stephen said.
-- Yes, Cranly said. It might be difficult for you to live here now. But is it that that makes you go?
-- I have to go, Stephen answered.
-- Because, Cranly continued, you need not look upon yourself as driven away if you do not wish to go or as a heretic or an outlaw. There are many good believers who think as you do. Would that surprise you? The church is not the stone building nor even the clergy and their dogmas. It is the whole mass of those born into it. I don't know what you wish to do in life. Is it what you told me the night we were standing outside Harcourt Street station?
-- Yes, Stephen said, smiling in spite of himself at Cranly's way of remembering thoughts in connection with places. The night you spent half an hour wrangling with Doherty about the shortest way from Sallygap to Larras.
-- Pothead! Cranly said with calm contempt. What does he know about the way from Sallygap to Larras? Or what does he know about anything for that matter? And the big slobbering washingpot head of him!
He broke into a loud long laugh.
-- Well? Stephen said. Do you remember the rest?
-- What you said, is it? Cranly asked. Yes, I remember it. To discover the mode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom.
Stephen raised his hat in acknowledgement.
-- Freedom! Cranly repeated. But you are not free enough yet to commit a sacrilege. Tell me, would you rob?
-- I would beg first, Stephen said.
-- And if you got nothing, would you rob?
-- You wish me to say, Stephen answered, that the rights of property are provisional, and that in certain circumstances it is not unlawful to rob. Everyone would act in that belief. So I will not make you that answer. Apply to the jesuit theologian, Juan Mariana de Talavera, who will also explain to you in what circumstances you may lawfully kill your king and whether you had better hand him his poison in a goblet or smear it for him upon his robe or his saddlebow. Ask me rather would I suffer others to rob me or, if they did, would I call down upon them what I believe is called the chastisement of the secular arm?
-- And would you?
-- I think, Stephen said, it would pain me as much to do so as to be robbed.
-- I see, Cranly said.
He produced his match and began to clean the crevice between two teeth. Then he said carelessly:
-- Tell me, for example, would you deflower a virgin?
-- Excuse me, Stephen said politely, is that not the ambition of most young gentlemen?
-- What then is your point of view? Cranly asked.
His last phrase, sour smelling as the smoke of charcoal and disheartening, excited Stephen's brain, over which its fumes seemed to brood.
-- Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use-- silence, exile and cunning.
Cranly seized his arm and steered him round so as to lead him back towards Leeson Park. He laughed almost slyly and pressed Stephen's arm with an elder's affection.
-- Cunning indeed! he said. Is it you? You poor poet, you!
-- And you made me confess to you, Stephen said, thrilled by his touch, as I have confessed to you so many other things, have I not?
-- Yes, my child, Cranly said, still gaily.
-- You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.
Cranly, now grave again, slowed his pace and said:
-- Alone, quite alone. You have no fear of that. And you know what that word means? Not only to be separate from all others but to have not even one friend.
-- I will take the risk, said Stephen.
-- And not to have any one person, Cranly said, who would be more than a friend, more even than the noblest and truest friend a man ever had.
His words seemed to have struck some deep chord in his own nature. Had he spoken of himself, of himself as he was or wished to be? Stephen watched his face for some moments in silence. A cold sadness was there. He had spoken of himself, of his own loneliness which he feared.
-- Of whom are you speaking? Stephen asked at length.
Cranly did not answer.
Happy Bloomsday. I couldn't find an appropriately short excerpt so I will instead link to the grand celebration: Ulysses at Online Literature, or at Bibliomania if that server is overloaded. In one of the ironies of life, I got a letter yesterday from the great-grandniece of Margaret Anderson, who published Ulysses in The Little Review in 1918 (and nearly went to jail for it). It is a thrill more than I can say to talk to someone who has been looking at photos and watercolors created by the woman in whose honor I named my web site. I know I get geeky fangirly over Louise Fletcher and Russell Crowe, but Margaret Anderson is one of the luminaries of American literature...a woman who published Eliot, Yeats, Stein, Hemingway, Emma Goldman, Andre Breton, Wyndham Lewis and James Joyce in an era when she knew she might be found guilty of indecency. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
My Wednesday horoscope could not have been more appropriate: "Here is a day that will be rather constraining. Despite your great inner aspirations, today will be marked by the necessity for realism in order to take care of the small problems that arise in everyday life. In other words, just what you love... That said, a little bit of being more down to Earth - or being in contact with the realities of the real world can never do anything but good to those born under the sign of Sagittarius." Yeah, that about says it. Older son's chicken pox seems to be fading already, but both sons were terribly frustrated that rather than having a vast neighborhood water gun fight for the last day of school, they were stuck inside, and tonight we got a phone call from his best local friend: that boy also has chicken pox. As if that wasn't enough, my sister called from New York suspecting that her eldest daughter has chicken pox. I am wondering whether the virus mutated somehow to make immunized children more susceptible to this year's strain of varicella or something, because based on what the pediatrician told me this morning (epidemic proportions in the Catholic high schools) and all these cases, it seems odd to me that kids of so many different ages and in so many different regions are coming down with it.
Rosie has gall stones and, more unnervingly, some kind of calcium deposits below her liver that the vet wants to go over with a specialist. The calcium deposits are likely not the cause of her being sick because they're not pressing on anything and she said it didn't look like any tumor she had ever seen, but her blood count was showing elevated calcium levels too so they need to do more tests. She's at home now, begging for food and attention like always, chasing Cinnamon, and before bed we must find a way to get half a pill into her via bribes or force if necessary. I dropped her off at the vet and apaulled picked her up, since I was at home with older son, and she seems to believe that I am entirely responsible for her torment as I am getting the Glare Treatment. We'll know more tomorrow.
We did end up having dinner with my parents, since the pediatrician said they should not be any more contagious after contact with our son tonight than they would be after contact with him over the weekend, and my sister called in the middle with the report of the outbreak in her household meaning we won't be blamed anyway (her daughter's school has had a number of cases). Older son wanted chicken soup, believing this to be an appropriate cure for chicken pox (isn't it for everything?) and a Jewish grandmother is required to provide this properly! At home we watched the Smallville rerun and I showed my kids some bloopers I had courtesy beeej. Then I followed a link someone had sent me to a piece of movie fan fiction and discovered a bunch of SV stories I had not read before, so I have Clex porn in my system and feel slightly better. *g*
One of my neighbors is an artist. This is what I saw as I went past her house yesterday; it made me do quite a double-take!