Full text: The waves

, THE WAVES 
the surroundings up to a point with extraordinary ease. 
But can I make it work ? Can I hear her voice—the precise 
tone with which, when we are alone, she says ‘ Bernard’? 
And then what next? 
“The truth is that I need the stimulus of other people. 
Alone, over my dead fire, I tend to see the thin places in 
my own stories. The real novelist, the perfectly simple 
human being, could go on, indefinitely, imagining. He 
would not integrate, as I do. He would not have this 
devastating sense of grey ashes in a burnt-out grate. Some 
blind flaps in my eyes. Everything becomes impervious. I 
cease to invent. 
“Let me recollect. It has been on the whole 2 good 
day. The drop that forms on the roof of the soul in the 
evening is round, many-coloured. There was the morning, 
fine; there was the afternoon, walking. I like views ot 
spires across grey fields. I like glimpses between people’s 
shoulders. Things kept popping into my head. I was 
imaginative, subtle. After dinner, I was dramatic. I put 
into concrete form many things that we had dimly observed 
about our common friends. I made my transitions easily. 
But now let me ask myself the final question, as I sit over 
this grey fire, with its naked promontories of black coal, 
which of these people am 1? It depends so much upon 
the room. When I say to myself, ¢ Bernard,” who comes ? 
A faithful, sardonic man, disillusioned, but not embittered. 
A man of no particular age or calling. Myself, merely. It 
is he who now takes the poker and rattles the cinders so 
that they fall in showers through the grate. Lord,’ he says 
to himself, watching them fall, “ what a pother |” and then 
he adds, lugubriously, but with some sense of consolation, 
* Mrs. Moffat will come and sweep it all up——" 1 fancy 1 
shall often repeat to myself that phrase, as I rattle and bang 
through life, hitting first this side of the carriage, then 
the other, ‘ Oh, yes, Mrs. Moffat will come and sweep it 
all up.” And so to bed.” 
“In a world which contains the present moment,” said 
¢ 8
	        

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