Monday, August 11, 2008

It Just Occurred To Me...

..oh dear. Oh no, no, no.
There might actually be people out there whose opinion of Evelyn Waugh's masterful "Brideshead Revisited" will be based on the current movie.

DIH cannot live with the thought. So for your reading pleasure, here are some of my
favorite bits from the great novel. Eat your heart out, Jeremy Brock. You'd kill to be able to write like this.
So, for that matter, would I.


"It is purely out of respect for your Aunt Philippa that I dine at this length. She laid it down that a three-course dinner was middle-class. 'If you once let the servants get their way,' she said, 'you will find yourself dining nightly off a single chop.' There is nothing I should like more. In fact, that is exactly what I do when I got to my club. But your aunt ordained that at home I must have soup and three courses. It is remarkable how some people are able to put their opinions in lapidary
form; your aunt had that gift."

***

"Charles," said Cordelia, "Modern Art is all bosh, isn't it?"

"Great bosh."

"Oh, I'm so glad. I had an argument with one of our nuns and she said we shouldn't try to criticize what we didn't understand. Now I shall tell her I have had it straight from a real artist, and snubs to her."
***

"D'you know what Papa said when he became a Catholic? Mummy told me once. He said to her: 'You have brought back my family to the faith of their ancestors.' Pompous, you know. It takes people different ways."
***

[Rex Mottram has announced his intention to become a Catholic so he can marry the Lady Julia in the Church.]

"Lady Marchmain was dismayed and perplexed by this new development; it was no good her telling herself that in charity she must assume his good faith; it brought back memories of another courtship and another conversion.

'Rex,' she said. 'I sometimes wonder if you realize how big a thing you are taking on in the Faith. It would be very wicked to take a step like this without believing sincerely.'

He was masterly in his treatment of her.

"I don't pretend to be a very devout man," he said, "nor much of a theologian, but I know it's a bad plan to have two religions in one house. A man needs a religion. If your Church is good enough for me."

"Very well," she said, "I will see about having you instructed."

"Look, Lady Marchmain, I haven't the time. Instruction will be wasted on me. Just you give me the form and I'll sign on the dotted line."

"It usually takes some months- often a lifetime."

"Well, I'm a quick learner. Try me."

"So Rex was sent to Farm Street to Father Mowbray, a priest renowned for his triumphs with obdurate catechumens. After the third interview he came to tea with Lady Marchmain.

"Well, how do you find my future son-in-law.?"

"He's the most difficult convert I ever met."

"Oh dear, I thought he was going to make it so easy."

"That's exactly it. I can't get anywhere near him. He doesn't seem to have the least intellectual curiosity or natural piety. The first day I wanted to find out what sort of religious life he had had till now, so I asked him what he meant by prayer. He said: 'I don't mean anything. You tell me.' I tried to , in a few words, and he said: 'Right. So much for prayer. What's the next thing?" I gave him the catechism to take away. Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said:
'Just as many as you say, Father.' Then I asked him: Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said 'it's going to rain.' Would that be bound to happen?' 'Oh yes, Father.'
'But supposing it didn't?' He though a moment and said, 'I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.' Lady Marchmain, he doesn't correspond to any degree of paganism known to the missionaries.'"

1 comment:

Jackie Parkes said...

We studied the book for our Catholic Women's book Club...wonderful!