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|Crome Yellow||Aldous Huxley|
|Page 2 of 4||
Mary flushed. "Nothing is to be gained," she said severely, "by speaking with levity of serious subjects. And, after all, whatever your personal views may be, psychical research is a perfectly serious subject."
"And what about Denis?"
Denis made a deprecating gesture. "I have no accomplishments," he said, "I'll just be one of those men who wear a thing in their buttonholes and go about telling people which is the way to tea and not to walk on the grass."
"No, no," said Anne. "That won't do. You must do something more than that."
"But what? All the good jobs are taken, and I can do nothing but lisp in numbers."
"Well, then, you must lisp," concluded Anne. "You must write a poem for the occasion--an 'Ode on Bank Holiday.' We'll print it on Uncle Henry's press and sell it at twopence a copy."
"Sixpence," Denis protested. "It'll be worth sixpence."
Anne shook her head. "Twopence," she repeated firmly. "Nobody will pay more than twopence."
"And now there's Jenny," said Mr Wimbush. "Jenny," he said, raising his voice, "what will you do?"
Denis thought of suggesting that she might draw caricatures at sixpence an execution, but decided it would be wiser to go on feigning ignorance of her talent. His mind reverted to the red notebook. Could it really be true that he looked like that?
"What will I do," Jenny echoed, "what will I do?" She frowned thoughtfully for a moment; then her face brightened and she smiled. "When I was young," she said, "I learnt to play the drums."
Jenny nodded, and, in proof of her assertion, agitated her knife and fork, like a pair of drumsticks, over her plate. "If there's any opportunity of playing the drums..." she began.
"But of course," said Anne, "there's any amount of opportunity. We'll put you down definitely for the drums. That's the lot," she added.
"And a very good lot too," said Gombauld. "I look forward to my Bank Holiday. It ought to be gay."
"It ought indeed," Mr Scogan assented. "But you may rest assured that it won't be. No holiday is ever anything but a disappointment."
"Come, come," protested Gombauld. "My holiday at Crome isn't being a disappointment."
"Isn't it?" Anne turned an ingenuous mask towards him.
"No, it isn't," he answered.
"I'm delighted to hear it."
"It's in the very nature of things," Mr. Scogan went on; "our holidays can't help being disappointments. Reflect for a moment. What is a holiday? The ideal, the Platonic Holiday of Holidays is surely a complete and absolute change. You agree with me in my definition?" Mr. Scogan glanced from face to face round the table; his sharp nose moved in a series of rapid jerks through all the points of the compass. There was no sign of dissent; he continued: "A complete and absolute change; very well. But isn't a complete and absolute change precisely the thing we can never have--never, in the very nature of things?" Mr. Scogan once more looked rapidly about him. "Of course it is. As ourselves, as specimens of Homo Sapiens, as members of a society, how can we hope to have anything like an absolute change? We are tied down by the frightful limitation of our human faculties, by the notions which society imposes on us through our fatal suggestibility, by our own personalities. For us, a complete holiday is out of the question. Some of us struggle manfully to take one, but we never succeed, if I may be allowed to express myself metaphorically, we never succeed in getting farther than Southend."
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