|• Main||• Contacts|
"Oh, sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!"
"Now," said Ann Veronica, after the half-hour of exercise, and sitting
on the uncomfortable wooden seat without a back that was her perch by
day, "it's no good staying here in a sort of maze. I've got nothing to
do for a month but think. I may as well think. I ought to be able to
think things out.
"How shall I put the question? What am I? What have I got to do with
"I wonder if many people HAVE thought things out?
"Are we all just seizing hold of phrases and obeying moods?
"It wasn't so with old-fashioned people, they knew right from wrong;
they had a clear-cut, religious faith that seemed to explain everything
and give a rule for everything. We haven't. I haven't, anyhow. And it's
no good pretending there is one when there isn't.... I suppose I
believe in God.... Never really thought about Him--people don't..
.. I suppose my creed is, 'I believe rather indistinctly in God the
Father Almighty, substratum of the evolutionary process, and, in a vein
of vague sentimentality that doesn't give a datum for anything at all,
in Jesus Christ, His Son.'...
"It's no sort of good, Ann Veronica, pretending one does believe when
"And as for praying for faith--this sort of monologue is about as near
as any one of my sort ever gets to prayer. Aren't I asking--asking
"We've all been mixing our ideas, and we've got intellectual hot
coppers--every blessed one of us....
"A confusion of motives--that's what I am!...
"There is this absurd craving for Mr. Capes--the 'Capes crave,' they
would call it in America. Why do I want him so badly? Why do I want him,
and think about him, and fail to get away from him?
"It isn't all of me.
"The first person you love, Ann Veronica, is yourself--get hold of that!
The soul you have to save is Ann Veronica's soul...."
She knelt upon the floor of her cell and clasped her hands, and remained
for a long time in silence.
"Oh, God!" she said at last, "how I wish I had been taught to pray!"
She had some idea of putting these subtle and difficult issues to the
chaplain when she was warned of his advent. But she had not reckoned
with the etiquette of Canongate. She got up, as she had been told to
do, at his appearance, and he amazed her by sitting down, according to
custom, on her stool. He still wore his hat, to show that the days
of miracles and Christ being civil to sinners are over forever. She
Page 3 from 7: Back 1 2  4 5 6 7 Forward