Inspiration and Provocation
Inspiration and Provocation
"Jack" Lewis has been my mentor since the age of six, when my mother started reading the Chronicles of Narnia to me, and continuing with a correspondence initiated, again, by my mother. Though Lewis died in 1962, he continues to be my mentor through his writing...and I often feel that he's watching me with kindly amusement from his vantage point in Aslan's Country. Here are some of my most favorite parts of his writing. (Click here for serious quotes from the rest of humanity., and here for amusing quotes.)
Oyarsa Malacandra, referring to the passage of a few billion years: "But do not think of these things. My people have a law never to speak much of sizes or numbers to you others, not even to sorns. You do not understand, and it makes you do reverence to nothings and pass by what is really great."
"Oh, you're real, you're real! Oh, Aslan!" cried Lucy and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.
"But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."
"... I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!"
Come in by the gold gates or not at all,
A terrible thirst and hunger came over him and a longing to taste that fruit. He put it hastily into his pocket; but there were plenty of others. Could it be wrong to tastes one? After all, he thought, the notice on the gate might not have been exactly an order; it might have been only a piece of advice - and who cares about advice?
"Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heart's desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want: they do not always like it."
"But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something
that will cure Mother?" Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's
great front feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked
up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole
life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders)
great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright
tears compaed with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion
must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
If she had had time to put on her good clothes (her best hat had imitation cherries on it) she would have looked dreadful; as it was she looked rather nice.
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.
"There!" said several voices. "It isn't an animal
at all. It's not alive."
They didn't hear any words: only a vague sizzling noise. Perhaps it was just as well they didn't, for no dog that I ever knew, least of all a Talking Dog of Narnia, likes being called a Good Doggie then; any more than you would like being called My Little Man.
For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.
I was by now too experienced in literary cricitism to regard the Gospels as myths. They had not the mythical taste. And yet the very matter which they set down in their artless, historical fashion - those narrow, unattractive Jews, too blind to the mythical wealth of the Pagan world around them - was precisely the matter of the great myths. If ever a myth had become fact, had been incarnated, it would be just like this. And nothing else in all literature was like this. Myths were like it in one way. Histories were like it in another. But nothing was simply like it.And no person was like the Person it depicted; as real, as recognizable, through all that depth of time, as Plato's Socrates or Boswell's Johnson ... yet also numinous, lit by a light from beyond the world, a god. But if a god - we are no longer polytheists - then not a god, but God. Here and here only in all time the myth must have become fact; the Word, flesh; God, Man. This is not "a religion," nor "a philosophy." It is the summing up and actuality of them all.
I was not in the least anticlerical, but I was deeply antiecclesiastical. That curates and archdeacons and churchwardens should exist was admirable. They gratified my Jenkinian love of everything that has its own strong flavor. ... But though I liked clergymen as I liked bears, I had as little wish to be in the church as in the zoo.
"Chronological snobbery," [is] the uncritical accpetance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also "a period," and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumtions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.
I was still young and the whole world of beauty was
opening before me, my own officious obstructions were often swept aside
and, startled into self-forgetfulness, I again tasted Joy. ...
I can hardly regret having escaped the appalling waste of time and spirit which would have been involved in reading the war news or taking more than an artificial and formal part in conversations about the war. To read without military knowledge or good maps accounts of fighting which were distorted before they reached the divisional general and further distorted before they left him and then "written up" out of all recognition by journalists, to strive to master what will be contradicted the next day, to fear and hope intensely on shaky evidence, is surely an ill use of the mind. Even in peacetime I think those are very wrong who say that schoolboys should be encouraged to read the newspapers. Nearly all that a boy reads there in his teens will be known before he is twenty to have been false in emphasis and interpretation, if not in fact as well, and most of it will have lost all importance. Most of what he remembers he will therefore have to unlearn; and he will probably have acquired an incurable taste for vulgarity and sensationalism and the fatal habit of fluttering from paragraph to paragraph to learn how an actress has been divorced in California, a train derailed in France, and quadruplets born in New Zealand.
We now settled into a routine which has ever since
served in my mind as an archetype, so that what I still mean when I speak
of a "normal" day (and lament that normal days are so rare) is a day of
the Bookham pattern. For if I could please myself I would always live
as I lived there. I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight
and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup
of good tea or coffee could be brought me about eleven, so much the better.
A step or so out of doors for a pint of beer would not do quite so well;
for a man does not want to drink alone and if you meet a friend in the
taproom the break is likely to be extended beyond its ten minutes. At
one precisely lunch should be on the table; and by two at the latest I
would be on the road. Not, except at rare intervals, with a friend. Walking
and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine
them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world;
and talking leads almost invevitably to smoking, and then farewell to
nature as far as one of our senses is concerned. ... The return from the
walk, and the arrival of tea, should be exactly coincident, and not later
than a quarter past four. Tea should be taken in solitude... For eating
and reading are two pleasure that combine admirably. Of course not all
books are suitable for mealtime reading. It would be a kind of blasphemy
to read poetry at table. What one wants is a gossipy, formless book which
can be opened anywhere... At five a man should be at work again, and at
it till seven. Then, at the evening meal and after, comes the time for
talk, or failing that, for lighter reading; and unless you are making
a night of it with your cronies (and at Bookham I had none) there is no
reason why you should ever be in bed later than eleven. But when is a
man to write his letters? You foget that I am describing the happy life
I led with Kirk or the ideal life I would live now if I could. And it
is an essential of the happy life that a man would have almost no mail
and never dread the postman's knock.
I was beginning to think in Greek. That is the great Rubicon to cross in learning any language. Those in whom the Greek word lives only while they are hunting for it in the lexicon, and who then substitute the English word for it, are not reading the Greek at all; they are only solving a puzzle. The very formula, "Naus means a ship," is wrong. Naus and ship both mean a thing, they do not mean one another. Behind Naus, as behind navis or naca, we want to have a picture of a dark, slender mass with sail or oars, climbing the ridges, with no officious English word intruding.
I should be sorry if I were understood to think, or if I encouraged any reader in thinking, that this invincible disklike of doing things with a bat or a ball were other than a misforture. Not, indeed, that I allow to games any of the moral and almost mystical virtures which schoolmasters claim for them; they see to me to lead to ambition, jealousy, and embittered partisan feeling, quite as often as to anything else. Yet not to like them is a misfortune, because it cuts you off from companionship with many excellent people who can be approached in no other way. A misforture, not a vice; for it is involuntary. I had tried to like games and failed. That impulse had been left out of my make-up; I was to games, as the proverb has it, like an ass to the harp.
And the world itself - can I have been unhappy, living in Paradise? What keen, tingling sunlight there was! The mere smells were enough to make a man tipsy - cut grass, dew-dabbled mosses, sweet pea, autumn woods, wood burning, peat, salt water. The sense ached. I was sick with desire; that sickness better than health.
And [this] is why I cannot give pederasty [homosexuality] anything like a first place among the evils of the Coll. There is much hypocrisy on this theme. People commonly talk as if every other evil were more tolerable than this. But why? ... The real reason for all the pother is, in my opinion, niether Christian nor ethical. We attack this vice not because it is the worst but because it is, by adult standards, the most disreputable and unmentionable, and happens also to be a crime in English law. The World will lead you only to Hell, but sodomy may lead you to jail and create a scandal, and lose you your job. The World, to do it justice, seldom does that.
My father's people were true Welshmen, sentimental, passionate, and rhetorical, easily moved both to anger and to tenderness; men who laughed and cried a great deal and who had not much of the talent for happiness.
"How do you know that," asked Ransom in amazement.
The Enemy was using Third Degree methods. ... He could
not understand why Maleldil should remain absent when the Enemy was there
It was the first time he had looked steadily at her, himself unobserved, and she seemed more strange to him than before. There was no category in the terrestrial mind which would fit her. Opposites met in her and were fused in a fashion for which we have no images. One way of putting it would be to say that neither our sacred nor our profane art could make her portrait. Beautiful, naked, shameless, young - she was obviously a goddess: but then the face, the face so calm that it escaped insipidity by the very concentration of its mildness, the face that was like the sudden coldness and stillness of a church when we enter it from a hot street - that made her a Madonna. The alert, inner silence which looked out from those eyes overawed him; yet at any moment she might laugh like a child, or run like Artemis or dance like a Mænad.
Ransom: Oh, my Lady, why do you say that such
creatures linger only in the ancient worlds?
"Why?" asked the Lady. "And why, O Piebald, are you making little hills and valleys in your forehead and why do you give a little lift of your shoulders? Are these the signs of something in your world?"
"They mean nothing," said Ransom hastily. It was a small lie; but there it would not do. It tore him as he uttered it, like a vomit. It became of infinite importance. The silver meadow and the golden sky seemed to fling it back at him. As if stunned by some measureless anger in the very air he stammered an emendation: "They mean nothing I could explain to you."
As soon as the Lady was out of sight Ransom's first impulse was to run his hands through his hair, to expel the breath from his lungs in a long whistle, to light a cigarette, to put his hands in his pockets, and in general, to go through all that ritual of relaxation which a man performs on finding himself alone after a rather trying interview. But he had no cigarettes and no pockets: nor indeed did he feel himself alone. That sense of being in Someone's Presence which had descended on him with such unbearable pressure during the very first moments of his conversation with the Lady did not disappear when he had left her.
Weston: You ask me to believe that you have
been living here with that woman under these conditions in a state of
What chilled and almost cowed [Ransom] most was the union of malice with something nearly childish. For temptation, for blasphemy, for a whole battery of horrors, he was in some sort prepared; but hardly for this petty, indefatigable nagging as of a nasty little boy at a preparatory school. Indeed no imagined horror could have surpassed the sense which grew within him as the slow hours passed, that this creature was, by all human standards, inside out - its heart on the surface and its shallowness at the heart. On the surface, great designs and an antagonism to Heaven which involved the fate of worlds: but deep within, when every veil had been pierced, was there, after all, nothing but a black puerility, an aimless empty spitefulness content to sate itself with the tiniest cruelties, as love does not disdain the smallest kindness.
His journey to Perelandra was not a moral exercise,
nor a sham fight. If the issue lay in Maleldil's hands, Ransom and the
Lady were those hands. The fate of a world really depended on how
they behaved in the next few hours. ...
It was fortunate that something so horrible [as physical combat with the un-man] should be so obviously out of the question. Almost, but not quite, Ransom decreed that whatever the Silence and the Darkness seemed to be saying about this, no such crude, materialistic struggle could possibly be what Maleldil really intended. Any suggestion to the contrary must be only his own morbid fancy. It would degrade the spiritual warfare to the condition of mere mythology. But here he got another check.
Long since on Mars, and more strongly since he came to Perelandra, Ransom had been perceiving that the triple distinction of truth from myth and of both from fact was purely terrestrial - was part and parcel of that unhappy division betwen soul and body which resulted from the Fall. Even on earth the sacraments existed as a permanent reminder that the division was neither wholesome nor final. The Incarnation had been the beginning of its disappearance. In Perelandra it would have no meaning at all. Whatever happened here would be of such a nature that earth-men would call it mythological. All this he had thought before. Now he knew it. The Presence in the darkness, never before so formidable, was putting these truths into his hands, like terrible jewels.
"It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom," said the Voice.
And he knew that this was no fancy of his own. He knew it for a very curious reason - because he had known for many years that his surname was derived not from ransom but from Ranolf's son. It would never have occurred to him thus to associate the two words. To connect the name Ransom with the act of ransoming would have been for him a mere pun. But even his voluble self did not now dare to suggest that the Voice was making a play upon words. All in a moment of time he perceived that what was, to human philologists, a merely accidental resemblance of two sounds, was in truth no accident.
The whole distinction between things accidental and things designed, like the distinction between fact and myth, was purely terrestrial. The pattern is so large that within the little frame of earthly experience there appear pieces of it between which we can see no connection, and other pieces between which we can. Hence we rightly, for our sue, distinguish the accidental from the essential. But step outside that frame and the distinction drops down into the void, fluttering useless wings. He had been forced out of the frame, caught up into the larger pattern...
"My name also is Ransom," said the Voice.
[The Lady] stood like one almost dazed with the richness of a day-dream. She did not look in the least like a woman who is thinking about a new dress. The expression of her face was noble. It was a great deal too noble. Greatness, tragedy, high sentiment - these were obviously what occupied her thoughts. Ransom perceived that the affair of the robes and the mirror had been only superfically concerned with what is commonly called female vanity. The image of her beautiful body had been offered to her only as a means to awake the far more perilous image of her great soul. The external and, as it were, dramatic conception of the self was the enemy's true aim. He was making her mind a theatre in which that phantom self should hold the stage. He had already written the play.
[Ransom] had full opportunity to learn the falsity of the maxim that the Prince of Darkness is a gentleman. Again and again he felt that a suave and subtle Mephistopheles with red cloak and rapier and a feather in his cap, or even the sombre tragic Satan out of Paradise Lost, would have been a welcome release from the thing he was actually doomed to watch. It was not like dealing with a wicked politician at all: it was much more like being set to guard an imbecile or a monkey or a very nasty child. ... It showed plenty of subtlety and intelligence when talking to the Lady; but Ransom soon perceived that it regarded intelligence simply and solely as a weapon, which it had no more wish to employ in its off-duty hours than a soldier has to do bayonet practice when he is on leave. Thought was for it a device necessary to certain ends, but thought in itself did not interest it. It assumed reason as externally and inorganically as it had assumed Weston's body.
I was questionning him on the subject [of his journey to Perelandra] - which he doesn't often allow - and had incautiously said, "Of course I realise it's all rather too vague for you to put into words," when he took me up rather sharply, for such a patient man, by saying, "On the contrary, it is words that are vague. The reason why the thing can't be expressed is that it's too definite for language."
"Mercy," he groaned; and then, "Lord, why me?" But there was no answer.
The thing still seemed impossible. But gradually something happened to him which had happened to him only twice before in his life. It had happened once while he was trying to make up his mind to do a very dangerous job in the last war. It had happened again while he was screwing his resultion to go and see a certain man in London and make to him an excessively embarrassing confession which justice demanded. In both cases the thing had seemed a sheer impossibility: he had not thought but known that, being what he was, he was psychologically incapable of doing it; and then, without any apparent movement of the will, as objective and unemotional as the reading on a dial, there had arisen before him, with perfect certitude, the knowledge "about this time tomorrow you will have done the impossible." The same thing happened now.
...Where was Maleldil now? If this illimitable ocean said anything, it said something very different. Like all solitudes it was, indeed haunted: but not by an anthropomorphic Deity, rather by the wholly inscrutable to which man and his life remained eternally irrelevant. And beyond this ocean was space itself. In vain did Ransom try to remember that he had been in "space" and found it Heaven, tingling with a fullness of life for which infinity itself was not one cubic inch too large. All that seemed like a dream.
That opposite mode of thought which he had often mocked and called in mockery The Empirical Bogey, came surging into his mind - the great myth of our century with its gases and galaxies, its light years and evolutions, its nightmare perspectives of simple arithmetic in which everything that can possibly hold significance for the mind becomes the mere by-product of essential disorder. Always till now he had belittled it, had treated with a certain disdain its flat superlatives, its clownish amazement that different things should be of different sizes, its glib munificence of ciphers. Even now, his reason was not quite subdued, though his heart would not listen to his reason. Part of him still knew that the size of a thing is its least important characteristic, that the material universe derived from the comparing and mythopoic power within him that very majesty before which he was now asked to abase himself, and that mere numbers could not over-awe us unless we lent them, from our own resources, that awfulness which they thmselves could no more supply than a banker's ledger. But this knowledge remained an abstraction. Mere bigness and loneliness overbore him.
"They want to frighten me," said something in Ransom's
brain, and at the same moment he became convinced both that the Un-man
had summoned the great crawler and also that the evil thoughts which had
preceded the appearance of the enemy had been poured into his own mind
by the enemy's will. The knowledge that his thoughts could be thus managed
from without did not awake terror but rage. Ransom found that he had risen,
that he was approaching the Un-man, that he was saying things, perhaps
foolish things, in English. "Do you think I'm going to stand this?"
he yelled. "Get out of my brain. It isn't yours, I tell you! Get out of
it. ... In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,
here goes - I mean Amen," said Ransom...
Look on him beloved, and love him," said the first [edlil]. "He is indeed but breathing dust and a careless touch would unmake him. And in his best thoughts there are such things mingled as, if we thought them, our light would perish. But he is in the body of Maleldil and his sins are forgiven. His very name in his own toungue is Elwin, the friend of the eldila."
Malacandra: Be comforted. It is no doing of yours. You are not great, though you could have prevented a thing so great that Deep Heaven sees it with amazement. Be comforted, small one, in your smallness. He lays no merit on you. Received and be glad. Have no fear, lest your shoulders be bearing this world. Look! It is beneath your head and carries you."
The faces surprised him very much. Nothing less like the "angel" of popular art could well be imagined. The rich variety, the hint of undeveloped possibilities, which make the interest of human faces, were entirely absent. One single, changeless expression - so clear that it hurt and dazzled him - was stamped on each and there was nothing else there at all. In that sense their faces were as "primitive," as unnatural, if you like, as those of archaic statures from Ægina. What this one thing was he could not be certain. He concluded in the end that it was charity. But it was terrifyingly different from the expresion of human charity, which we always see either blossoming out of, or hastening to descend into, natural affection. Here there was no affeciton at all: no least lingering memory of it even at ten million years' distance, no germ from which it could spring in any future, however remote. Pure, spiritual, intellectual love shot from their faces like barbed lightning. It was so unlike the love we experience that its expression could easily be mistaken for ferocity.
Both the [eldilas'] bodies were naked, and both were free from any sexual characteristics, either primary or secondary. That, one would have expected. But whence came this curious difference between them? He found that he could point to no single feature wherein the difference resided, yet it was impssible to ignore. One could try - Ransom has tried a hundred times - to put it into words.
He has said that Malacandra was like rhythm and Perelandra like melody. He has said that Malacandra affected him like a quantitative, Perelandra like an accentual metre. He thinks that the first held in his hand something like a spear, but the hands of the other were open, with the palms towards him. But I don't know that any of these attempts has helped me much. At all events what Ransom saw at at that moment was the real meaning of gender. ...
Still less is gender an imaginative extension of sex. ... The real process is the reverse. Gender is a reality, and a more fundemental reality than sex. Sex is, in fact, merely the adaptation to organic life of a fundamental polarity which divides all created beings. Female sex is simply one of the things that have feminine gender; there are many others, and Masculine and Feminine meet us on planes of reality where male and female would be simply meaningless.
Masculine is not attenuated male, nor feminine attenuated female. On the contrary, the male and female of organic creatures are rather faint and blurred reflections of masculine and feminine. Their reporductive functions, their differences in strength and size, partly exhibit, but partly also confuse and misrepresent, the real polarity. All this Ransom saw, as it were, with is own eyes.
The two white creatures were sexless. But he of Malacandra was masculine (not male); she of Perelandra was feminine (not female). Malacandra seemed to him to have the look of one standing armed, at the ramparts of his own remote archaic world, in ceaseless vigilance, his eyes ever roaming the earth-ward horizon whence his danger came long ago. "A sailor's look," Ransom once said to me; "you know . . . eyes that are impregnated with distance."
But the eyes of Perelandra opened, as it were, inward, as if they wre the curtained gateway to a world of waves and murmurings and wandering airs, of life that rocked in winds and splashed on mossy stones and descended as the dew and arose sunward in thin-spun delicacy of mist. On Mars the very forests are of stone; in Venus the lands swim. For now he thought of them no more as Malacandra and Perelandra. He called them by their Tellurian names. With deep wonder he thought to himself, "My eyes have seen Mars and Venus. I have seen Ares and Aphrodite."
Our mythology is based on a solider reality than we dream: but it is also at an almost infinite distance from that base. And when they told him this, Ransom at last understood why mythology was what it was - gleams of celestial strength and beauty falling on a jungle of filth and imbecility.
"We know these things now, " said the king, seeing Ransom's hesitation, "and this, all that happened in your world, Maleldil has put into our mind. We have learned evil, though not as the evil one wished us to learn. We have learned better than that, and know it more, for it is waking that understands sleep and not sleep that understand waking. There is an ignorance of evil that comes from being young: there is a darker ignorance that comes from doing it, as men by sleeping lose the knowledge of sleep. You are more ignorant of evil in Thulcandra now than in the days before your Lord and Lady began to do it. But Maleldil has brought us out of the one ignorance, and we have not entered the other.
"He has no need at all of anything that is made. An eldil is not more needful to Him than a grain of dust: a peopled world no more needful than a world that is empty: but all needless alike, and what all add to Him is nothing. We also have no need of anything that is made. Love me, my brothers, for I am infinitely superfluous, and your love shall be like His, born neither of your need nor of my deserving, but a plain bounty. Blessed be He!
Christianity was nonsense, but one did not doubt that the man [Jesus] had lived and had been executed thus by the Belbury of those days. And that, as he suddenly saw, explained why this image, though not itself an image of the Straight or Normal, was yet in opposition to crooked Belbury. It was a picture of what happened when the Straight met the Crooked, a picture of what the Crooked did to the Straight - what it would do to him if he remained straight. It was in a more emphatic sense than he had yet understood, a cross.
[T]he inconsolable wound with which man is born waked and ached at this touching.
"Religion" ought to mean a realm in which her haunting female fear of being treated as a thing, an object of barter and desire and possession, would be set permanently at rest and what she called her "true self" would soar upwards and expand in some freer and purer world. For still she thought that "Religion" was a kind of exhalation or a cloud of incense, something steaming up from specially gifted souls towards a receptive Heaven. Then, quite sharply, it occurred to her that the director never talked about Religion; nor did the Dimbles nor Camilla. They talked about God. They had no picture in their minds of some mist steaming upward: rather of strong, skilful hands thrust down to make, and mend, perhaps even to destroy. Supposing one were a thing after all - a thing designed and invented by Someone Else and valued for qualities quite different from what one had decided to regard as one's true self? Supposing all those people who, from the bachelor uncles down to Mark and Mother Dimble, had infuriatingly found her sweet and fresh when she wanted them to find her also interesting and important, had all along been simply right and perceived the sort of thing she was?
"Don't you like a rather foggy a in a wood in autumn? You'll find we shall be perfectly warm sitting in the car."
Jane said she'd never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn't mind trying. All three got in.
"That's why Camilla and I got married, " said Denniston as they drove off. "We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England."
"How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?" said Jane. "I don't think I should ever learn to like rain and snow."
"It's the other way around," said Denniston. "Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it is you grown up. Noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children - and the dogs? They know what snow's made for."
"I'm sure I hated wet days as a child," said Jane.
"That's because the grown-ups kept you in," said Camilla. "Any child loves rain if allowed to go out and paddle about in it."
She said at last, "I suppose our marriage was just a mistake."
The Director said nothing.
"What would you - what would the people you are talking of - say about a case like that?"
"I will tell you if you really want to know," said the Director.
"Please," said Jane reluctantly.
"They would say," he answered, "that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience."
Jane said, "I always thought it was in their souls that people were equal."
"You were mistaken," he said gravely. "That is the last place where they are equal. Equality before the law, equality of incomes - that is very well. Equality guards life; it doesn't make it. It is medicine, not food. You might as well try warming yourself with a blue-book."
"But surely in marriage . . . ?"
"Worse and worse," said the Director. "Courtship knows nothing of it; nor does fruition. What has free companionship to do with that? Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something together, are companions. Those who enjoy or suffer one another, are not. Do you not know how bashful friendship is? Friends - comrades - do not look at each other. Friendship would be ashamed . . ."
"I thought," said Jane and stopped.
"I see," said the Director. "It is not your fault. They never warned you. No one has ever told you that obedience - humility - is an erotic necessity. You are putting equality just where it ought not to be.
"Now, Mrs. Studdock," said the Director, "you shall see a diversion. But you must be perfectly still." With these words he took from his pocket a little silver whistle and blew a note on it. And Jane sat still till the room became filled with silence like a solid thing and there was first a scratching and then a rustling and presently she saw three plump mice working their passage across what was to them the thick undergrowth of the carpet, nosing this way and that so that if their course had been drawn it would have resembled that of a winding river, until they were so close that she could see the palpitation of their noses. In spite of what she said she did not really care for mice in the neighborhood of her feet and it was with an effort that she sat still. Thanks to this effort she saw mice for the first time as a really are - not as creeping things but as dainty quadrupeds, almost, when they sat up, like tiny kangaroos, with sensitive kid-gloved forepaws and transparent ears. With quick inaudible movements they ranged to and fro till not a crumb was left on the floor. Then the blew a second time on his whistle and with a sudden whisk of tails all three of them were racing for home and in a few seconds had disappeared behind the coal box. The Director looked at her with laughter in his eyes. ...
"There," he said, "a very simple adjustment. Humans want crumbs removed; mice are anxious to remove them. It ought never to have been a cause of war."
Bacon himself - no enemy to magic except on this account - reported that the magicians "attained not to greatness and certainty of works." The whole renaissance outburst of forbidden arts had, it seemed, been a method of losing one's soul on singularly unfavorable terms.
Not all the times that are outside the present are therefore past or future.
"You understand, Dimble? Your revolver in your hand, a prayer on your lips, your mind fixed on Maleldil."
"Sir," said Jane, "I know nothing of Maleldil. But I place myself in obedience to you."
"It is enough for the present," said the Director. "This is the courtesy of Deep Heaven: that when you mean well, He always takes you to have meant better than you knew."
"Have you ever noticed," said Dimble," that the universe, and every little bit of the universe, is always hardening and narrowing and coming to a point? ... If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family - anythying you like - at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren't quite so sharp; and that there's going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getitng worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing."
"I always say, you can't expect to know everything about a boy till you're married, not really," [Ivy] had said.
"I suppose not," said Jane.
"Of course, it's the same for them," added Ivy. "My old Dad used often to say he'd never have married Mum, not if he'd known how she snored. And she said herself, 'No, Dad, that you wouldn't!'"
"'That's how they treat us once they're married. They don't even listen to what we say,' I said. And do you know what she said? 'Ivy Maggs,' said she, 'did it ever come into your mind to ask whether anyone could listen to all we say?' ... You know often I've been talking to my husband for a long time, and he's looked up and asked me what I've been saying and, do you know? I haven't been able to remember myself!"
The training in objectivity which took place...cannot be described fully... Day by day, as the process went on, that idea of the Straight or the Normal which had occurred to him during his first visit to this room, grew stronger and more solid in his mind till it had become a kind of mountain. He had never before known what an Idea meant: he had always thought till now that they were things inside one's own head. But now, when his head was continually attacked and often completely filled with the clinging corruption of the training, this Idea towered up above him - something which obviously existed quite independently of himself and had hard rock surfaces which would not give, surfaces he could cling to.
"Do you mean I shall have to become a Christian?" said Jane. ...
The vision of the universe which she had begun to see in the last few minutes had a curiously stormy quality about it. It was bright, darting, and overpowering. Old Testament imagery of eyes and wheels for the first time in her life took on some possibility of meaning. and mixed with this was the sense that she had been manoeuvered into a false position. It ought to have been she who was saying these things to the Christians. Hers ought to have been the vivid, perilous world brought against their grey formalised one; hers the quick, vital movements and theirs the stained glass attitudes. That was the antithesis she was used to. This time, in a sudden flash of purple and crimson, she remembered what stained glass was really like.
Wither was not among those killed in the dining room. … [H]is own dark Masters had been completely out in their calculations. They had talked of a barrier which made it impossible that powers from Deep Heaven should reach the surface of the Earth; had assured him that nothing from outside could pass the Moon's orbit. All their polity was based on the belief that Tellus was blockaded, beyond the reach of such assistance and left (as far as that went) to their mercy and his. Therefore he knew that everything was lost.
It is incredible how little this knowledge moved him. It could not, because he had long ceased to believe in knowledge itself. What had been in his far-off youth a merely aesthetic repugnance to realities that were crude or vulgar, had deepened and darkened, year after year, into a fixed refusal of everything that was in any degree other than himself. He had passed from Hegel into Hume, thence through Pragmatism, and thence through Logical Positivism, and out at last into the complete void. The indicative mood now corresponded to no thought that his mind could entertain. He had willed with his whole heart that there should be no reality and no truth and now even the imminence of his own ruin could not wake him. The last scene of Dr. Faustus where the man raves and implores on the edge of Hell is, perhaps, stage fire. The last moments before damnation are not often so dramatic. Often the man knows with perfect clarity that some still possible action of his own will could yet save him. But he cannot make this knowledge real to himself. Some tiny habitual sensuality, some resentment too trivial to waste on a blue-bottle, the indulgence of some fatal lethargy, seems to him at that moment more important than the choice between total joy and total destruction. With eyes wide open, seeing that the endless terror is just about to begin and yet (for the moment) unable to feel terrified, he watches passively, not moving a finger for his own rescue, while the last links with joy and reason are severed, and drowsily sees the trap close upon his soul. So full of sleep are they at the time when they leave the right way.
"It is not contrary to the laws of Nature," said a voice from the corner where Grace Ironwood sat, almost invisible in the shadows. "You are quite right. The laws of the universe are never broken. Your mistake is to think that the little regularities we have observed on one planet for a few hundred years are the real unbreakable laws; whereas they are only the re-mote results which the true laws bring -about more often than not; as a kind of accident."
"Aye," said MacPhee ... "I'd be greatly obliged if anyone would tell me what we have done - always apart from feeding the pigs and raising some very decent vegetables."
"You have done what was required of you," said the Director. "You have obeyed and waited. It will often happen like that. As one of the modern authors has told us, the altar must often be built in one place in order that the fire from heaven may descend somewhere else.
Mark's mind was not at ease. He knew that he was going to meet Jane, and something was beginning to happen to him which ought to have happened to him far earlier. That same laboratory outlook upon love which had forestalled in Jane the humility of a wife, had equally forestalled in him, during what passed for courtship, the humility of a lover. Or if there had ever arisen in him at some wiser moment the sense of "Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear," he had put it away from him. False theories, at once prosaic and fanciful, had made it seem to him a mood frousty, unrealistic, and outmoded. Now, belated, after all favours had been conceded the unexpected misgiving was coming over him. He tried to shake It off. They were married, weren't they? And they were sensible, modern people? What could be more natural more ordinary?
But then, certain moments of unforgettable failure in their short married life rose in his imagination. He had thought often enough of what he called Jane's "moods." This time at last he thought of his own clumsy importunity. And the thought would not go away. Inch by inch, all the lout and clown and clod-hopper in him was revealed to his own reluctant inspection; the coarse, male boor with horny hands and hobnailed shoes and beefsteak jaw, not rushing in - for that can be carried off - but blundering, sauntering, stumping in where great lovers, knights and poets, would have feared to tread. An image of Jane's skin, so smooth, so white (or so he now imagined it) that a child's kiss might make a mark on it, floated before him. How had he dared? Her driven snow, her music, her sacrosanctity, the very style of all her movements - how had he dared? And dared too with no sense of daring, nonchalantly, in careless stupidity! The very thoughts that crossed her face from moment to moment, all of them beyond his reach, made (had he but had the wit to see it) a hedge about her which such as he should never have had the temerity to pass. Yes, yes - of course, it was she who had allowed him to pass it: perhaps in luckless, misunderstanding pity. And he had taken blackguardly advantage of that noble error in her judgment; had behaved as if here native to that fenced garden and even its natural possessor.
There was an endless night on one side of the ship and an endless day on the other: each was marvellous and he moved from the one to the other at his will, delighted. In the nights, which he could create by turning the handle of a door, he lay for hours in contemplation of the skylight. The Earth's disk was nowhere to be seen; the stars, thick as daisies on an uncut lawn, reigned perpetually with no cloud, no moon, no sunrise to dispute their sway. There were planets of unbelievalbe majesty, and constelations undreamed of: there were celestial sapphires, rubies, emeralds and pin-pricks of burning gold; far out on the left of the pcture hung a comet, tiny and remote: and between all and behind all, far more emphatic and palpable than it showed on Earth, the undimensioned, enigmatic blackness. The lights trembled: they seemed to grow brighter as he looked. ...The adventure was too high, its circumstances too solemn, for any emotion save a severe delight. But the days - that is, the hours spent in the sunward hemisphere of their microcosm - were the best of all. Often he rose after only a few hours' sleep to return, drawn by an irresistable attraction, to the regions of light; he could not cease to wonder at the noon which always awaited you however early you went to seek it. There totally immersed in a bath of pure ethereal colour and of unrelenting though unwounding brightness, stretched his full length and with eyes half closed in the strange chariot that bore them, faintly quivering, through depth after depth of tranquility far above the reach of night, he felt his body and mind daily rubbed and scoured and filled with new vitality. Weston, in one of his brief, reluctant answers, admitted a scientific basis for these sensations: they were receiving, he said, many rays that never penetrated the terrestrial atmosphere.
But Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of 'Space': at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness, which was supposed to separate the worlds. He had not known how much it affected him till now - now that the very name 'Space' seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam. He could not call it 'dead'; he felt life pouring into him from it every moment. How indeed should it be otherwise, since out of this ocean the worlds and all their life had come? He had thought it barren: he saw now that it was the womb of words, whose blazing and innumerable offspring looked down nightly even upon the earth with so many eyes - and here, with how many more! No: Space was the wrong name. Older thinkers has been wiser when they named it simply the heavens - the heavens which declared the glory - the
Up in the broad fields of the sky.'
The bellicose mood was a very rare one with Ransom. Like many men of his own age, he rather underestimated than overestimated his own courage; the gap between boyhood's dreams and his actual experience of the War had been startling, and his subsequent view of his own unheroic qualities had perhaps swung too far in the opposite direction.
Suddenly the lights of the Universe seemed to be turned down. As if some demon had rubbed the heaven's face with a dirty sponge, the splendour in which they had lived for so long blenched to a pallid, cheerless and pitable grey. It was impossible from where they sat to open the shutters or roll back the heavy blind. What had been a chariot gliding in the fields of heaven became a dark steel box dimly lighted by a slit of window, and falling. They were falling out of the heaven, into a world. Nothing in all his adventures bit so deeply into Ransom's mind as this. He wondered how he could ever have thought of planets, even of the Earth, as islands of life and reality floating in a deadly void. Now, with a certainty which never after deserted him, he saw the planets - the 'earths' he called them in his thought - as mere holes or gaps in the living heaven - excluded and rejected wastes of heavy matter and murky air, formed not by addition to, but by subtraction from, the surrounding brightness.
Then something happened which completely altered his state of mind. The creature, which was still steaming and shaking itself on the back and had obviously not seen him, opened its mouth and begam to make noises. This in itself was not remarkable; but a lifetime of linguistic study assured Ransom alsmost at once that these were articulate noises. The creature was talking. It had a language. If you are not yourself a philologist, I am afraid you must take on trust the prodigious emotional consequences of this realization in Ransom's mind. A new world he had already seen - but a new, an extra-terrestrial, a non-human language was a different matter. Somehow he had not thought of this in connection with the sorns; now, it flashed upon him like a revelation. The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.
Hyoi: A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, Hmân, as if the pleasure were on thing and the memory another. It is all one thing.
Here, unless Hyoi was decieving him, was a species naturally continent, naturally monogamous. And yet, was it so strange? Some animals, he knew, had regular breeding seasons; and if nature could perform the miracle of turning the sexual impulse outward at all, why could she not go further and fix it, not morally but instinctively, to a single object?
Augray: Body is movement. If it is at one speed, you smell something; if at another, you hear a sound; if at another you see a sight; if at another, you neither see nor hear nor smell, nor know the body in any way... The swiftest thing that touches our senses is light. We do not truly see light, we only see slower things lit by itm, so that for us light is on the edge - the last thing we know before things become too swift for us. But the body of an eldil is a movement swift as light; you may say its body is made of light, but not of that which is light for the eldil. His "light" is a swifter movement which for us is nothing at all; and what we call light is for him a thing like water, a visible thing, a thing he can touch and bathe in - even a dark thing when not illumined by the swifter. And what we call firm things - flesh and earth - seem to him thinner, and harder to see, than our light, and more like clouds, and nearly nothing. To us the eldil is a thin, half-real body that can go through walls and rocks; to himself he goes through them because he is solid and firm and they are like cloud.
Augray: But mark this, Small One, that the two ends meet.
Augray: The hrossa should not have sent you this way. They do not seem to know from looking at an animal what sort of lungs it has and what it can do. It is just like a hross. If you had died on the harandra they would have made a poem about the gallant hman and how the sky grew black and the cold stars shone and he journeyed on and journeyed on; and they would have put in a fine speech for you to say as you were dying . . . and all this would seem to them just as good as if they had used a little forethought and saved your life by sending you the easier way round.
Augray: A world is not made to last for ever, much less a race; that is not Maleldil's way.
[The Séroni] were astonished at what
he had to tell them of human history - of war, slavery and prostitution.
Oyarsa Malacandra: My people have a law never to speak much of sizes or numbers to you others, not even to sorns. You do not understand, and it makes you do reverence to nothings and pass by what is really great.
Doubtless it [the elderly hross] intended no disrespect to Oyarsa; but it must be confessed that it had yielded, at a much earlier stage of the proceedings, to an infirmity which attacks elderly hnau of all species, and was by this time enjoying a profound and refreshing slumber.
To every man, in his acquaintance with a new art, there comes a moment when that which before was meaningless first lifts, as it were, one corner of the curtain that hides its mystery, and reveals, in a burst of delight which later and fuller understanind can hardly ever equal, one glimpse of the indefinite possibilites within. For Ransom, this moment had now come in his understanding of Malacandrian song. ... A sense of great masses moving at visionary speeds, of giants dancing, of eternal sorrows eternally consoled, of he knew not what and yet what he had always known, awoke in him ... and bowed down his spirit as if the gate of heaven had opened before him.
Those handramits, for example. Seen from the height which the spaceship had now attained, in all their unmistakable geometry, they put to shame his original impression that they were natural valleys. They were gigantic feats of engineering, about which he had learned nothing; feats accomplished, if all were true, before human history began . . . before animal history began. Or was that only mythology? He knew it would seem like mythology when he got back to Earth (if he ever got back), but the presence of Oyarsa was still too fresh a memory to allow him any real doubts. It even occurred to him that the distinction between history and mythology might be itself meaningless outside the Earth.
But already it had become impossible to think of it as 'space.' Some moments of cold fear he had; but each time they were shorter and more quickly swallowed up in a sense of awe which made his personal fate seem wholly insignificant. He could not feel that they were an island of life journeying through an abyss of death. He felt almost the opposite - that life was waiting outside the little iron egg-shell in which they rode, ready at any moment to break in, and that, if it killed them, it would kill them by excess of its vitality. He hoped pasionately that if they were to perish they would perish by the 'unbodying' of the space-ship and not by suffocation within it. To be let out, to be free, to dissolve into the ocean of eternal noon, seemed to him at certain moments a consumation even more desirable than their return to Earth. And it he had felt some such lift of the heart when first he passed through heaven on the outward journey, he felt it now ten-fold, for now he was convinced that the abyss was full of life in the most literal sense, full of living creatures.
At that moment everyone's feelings were completely altered by a sound from behind. ... It was the same snarling roar [Shasta] had heard that moonlit night when they first met Aravis and Hwin. Bree knew it too. His eyes gleamed red and his ears lay flat back on his skull. And Bree now discovered that he had not really been going as fast - not quite as fast - as he could. Shasta felt the change at once. Now they were really going all out.
Aslan, speaking to Shasta: "I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight to receive you."
Shasta: "Then it was you who wounded Aravis?"
Corin: "Hurrah! Hurrah! I shan't have to be King... I'll always
be a prince. It's princes have all the fun."
It is not easy to draw one's sword when one is swinging round in the air by one's tail, but he did. [Sir Reepicheep, Chief of the Talking Mice of Narnia]
"But that would be putting the clock back," gasped the governor.
"Have you no idea of progress, of development?"
The Calormenes...bowed most politely to Caspian and paid him long compliments, all about the fountains of prosperity irrigating the gardens of prudence and virtue - and things like that - but of course what they wanted was the money they had paid.
When he thought of this the poor dragon that had been Eustace lifed up its voice and wept. A powerful dragon crying its eyes out under the moon in a deserted valley is a sight and a sound hardly to be imagined.
"It's all right," [Lucy] shouted. "everything's all right. The Magician's a brick."
Drinian: "But what manner of use would it be ploughing through
For it had taken everyone just that half-minute to remember certain
dreams they had had - dreams that make you afraid of going to sleep again
- and to realise what it would mean to land on a country where dreams
Most of us know what we should expect to find in a dragon's lair, but, as I said before, Eustace had read only the wrong books. They had a lot to say about exports and imports and governments and drains, but they were weak on dragons.
Caspian: "It is our wish that our royal visitation to our realm of the Lone Islands should, if possible, be an occasion of joy and not of terror to our loyal subjects. If it were not for that, I should have something to say about the state of your men's armour and weapons. As it is, you are pardoned. Command a cask of wine to be opened that your men may drink our health. But at noon to-morrow I wish to see them here in this courtyard looking like men at arms and not like vagabonds. See to it on pain of our extreme displeasure."
Lucy leant her head on the edge of the fighting-top and whispered,
"Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now." The darkness
did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little - a very little
Eustace: "In our world a star is a huge ball of flaming gas."
Reepicheep: "My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia."
Scrubb saw that she wasn't quite herself yet and very sensibly offered her a peppermint. He had one too. Presently Jill began to see things in a clearer light.
The Owl snapped at something which Jill couldn't see.
"Oh, don't, please!" said Jill. "Don't jerk like that. You nearly threw me off."
"I beg your pardon," said the Owl. "I was just nabbing a bat. There's nothing so sustaining, in a small way, as a nice plump little bat. Shall I catch you one?"
"No thanks," said Jill with a shudder.
"Good morning, Guests," [Puddleglum] said. "Though when I say good
I don't mean it won't probably turn to rain or it might be snow, or fog,
or thunder. You didn't get any sleep, I dare say."
"Don't you lose heart, Pole," said Puddleglum. "I'm coming, sure and certain. I'm not going to lose an opportunity like this. It will do me good. They all say - I mean, the other wiggles all say - that I'm too flightly; don't take life seriously enough. If they've said it once, they've said it a thousand times. 'Puddleglum,' they've said, 'you're altogether too full of bobance and bounce and high spirits. You've got to learn that life isn't all fricasseed frogs and eel pie.'..."
Puddleglum to the Witch-Queen of Underland: "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."
"Oh, what can be happening?" cried Jill. "Fire and water and all those people dodging about the streets."
"I'll tell you what it is," said Puddleglum. "That Witch has laid a train of magic spells so that whenever she was killed, at that same moment her whole kingdom would fall to pieces. She's the sort that wouldn't so much mind dying herself if she knew that the chap who killed her was going to be burned, or buried, or drowned five minutes later."
"Hast hit it, friend wiggle," said the Prince.
"Look, friends," he said, holding out the shield towards them. "An hour ago it was black and without device; and now, this." The shield had turned bright as silver, and on it, redder than blood or cherries, was the figure of the Lion.
"Doubtless," said the Prince, "This signifies that Aslan will be our good lord, whether he means us to live or die. And all's one, for that. Now, by my counsel, we shall all kneel and kiss his likeness, and then all shake hands one with another, as true friends that may shortly be parted. And then, let us descend into the City and take the adventure that is sent us."
Prince Rillian: Friends, when once a man is launched on such an adventure as this, he must bid farewell to hopes and fears, otherwise death or deliverance will both come too late to save his honour and his reason.
Golg the Gnome: "About an hour ago we were all going about our work - her work, I should say - sad and silent, same as we've done any other day for years and years. Then there came a great crash and bang. As soon as they heard it, everyone says to himself, I haven't had a song or a dance or let off a squib for a long time; why's that? And everyone thinks to himself, why, I must have been enchanted. And then everyone says to himself, I'm blessed if I know why I'm carrying this load, and I'm not going to carry it any further: that's that. And down we all throw our sacks and bundles and tools."
One light, the next one ahead, went out altogether. Then one behind them did the same. Then they were in absolute darkness.
"Courage, friends," came Prince Rilian's voice. "Whether we live or die Aslan will be our good lord."
"That's right, sir," said Puddleglum's voice. "And you must always remember there's one good thing about being trapped down here: It'll save funeral expenses."
"Look here! I say," [Eustace] stammered. "It's all very well. But aren't you? - I mean didn't you - ?"
"Oh don't be such an ass," said Caspian.
"But," said Eustace, looking at Aslan. "Hasn't he - er - died?"
"Yes," said the Lion in a very quiet voice, almost (Jill thought) as if he were laughing. "He has died. Most people have, you know. Even I have. There are very few who haven't."
The King was so dizzy from being knocked down that he hardly knew what was happening until the Calormenes untied his wrists and put his arms straight down by his sides and set him with his back against an ash tree. Then they bound ropes round his ankles and his knees and his waist and his chest and left him there. What worried him worst at the moment - for it is often little things that are hardest to stand - was that his lip was bleeding where they had hit him and he couldn't wipe the little trickle of blood away although it tickled him..
They drank from a stream, splashed their faces with water, and tumbled into their bunks, except for Puzzle and Jewel who said they'd be more comfortable outside. This perhaps was just as well, for a Unicorn and a fat, full-grown donkey indoors always make a room feel rather crowded.
"Ho, ho, ho!" chuckled the Dwarf, rubbing its hairy hands together. "It will be a surprise for the Ape. People shouldn't call for demons unless they really mean what they say."
Farsight the Eagle: "And the other sight, five leagues nearer than Cair Paravel, was Roonwit the Centaur lying dead with a Calormene arrow in his side. I was with him in his last hour and he gave me this message to your Majesty: to remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no one is too poor to buy."
"So," said the King, after a long silence, "Narnia is no more."
"Kiss me, Jewel," he said. "For certainly this is our last night on earth. And if ever I offended against you in any matter great or small, forgive me now."
"Dear King," said the Unicorn, "I almost wish you had, so that I might forgive it. Farewell. We have known great joys together. If Aslan gave me my choice I would choose no other life than the life I have had and no other death than the one we go to."
But Tirian, with his face as stern as stone, said, "Stand fast, Jewel. If you must weep, sweetheart (this was to Jill) turn your face aside and see you wet not your bowstring. And peace, Eustace. Do not scold, like a kitchen-girl. No warrior scolds. Courteous words or else hard knocks are his only language."
"I almost wish - no I don't, though," said Jill.
"What were you going to say?"
"I was going to say I wished we'd never come. But I don't, I don't, I don't. Even if we are killed, I'd rather be killed fighting for Narnia than grow old and stupid at home and perhaps go about in a bathchair and then die in the end just the same."
They had found a trickle of water coming down the rock and all had drunk eagerly - Jill and Poggin and the King in their hands, while the four-footed ones lapped from the little pool which it had made at the foot of the stone. Such was their thirst that it seemed the most delicious drink they had ever had in their lives, and while they were drinking they were perfectly happy and could not think of anything else.
He [Tirian] was fresh and cool and clean, and dressed in such clothes as he would have worn for a great feast at Cair Paravel. (But in Narnia your good clothes were never your uncomfortable ones. They knew how to make things that felt beautiful as well as looking beautiful in Narinia: and there was no such thing as starch or flannel or elastic to be found from one end of the country to the other.)
"It seems, then," said Tirian, smiling himself, "that the Stable seen from within and the Stable seen from without are two different places."
"Yes," said the Lord Digory. "Its inside is bigger than its outside."
"Yes," said Queen Lucy. "In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world." It was the first time she had spoken, and from the thrill in her voice Tirian now knew why. She was drinking everything in more deeply than the others. She had been too happy to speak.
"What happend then?" said Jill.
"Well, it's not very easy to describe, is it, Edmund?" said the High King.
"Not very," said Edmund. "It wasn't at all like that other time when we were pulled out of our own world by Magic. There was a frightful roar and something hit me with a bang, but it didn't hurt. And I felt not so much scared as - well, excited. Oh - and this is one queer thing. I'd had a rather sore knee, from a hack at rugger. I noticed it had suddenly gone. And I felt very light. And then - here we were."
"It was much the same for us in the railway carriage," said the Lord Digory, wiping the last traces of the fruit from his golden beard. "Only I think you and I, Polly, chiefly felt that we'd been unstiffered. You youngsters won't understand. But we stopped feeling old."
"Youngsters, indeed!" said Jill. "I don't believe you two really are much older than we are here."
"Well if we aren't, we have been," said the Lady Polly.
The creatures came rushing on, their eyes brighter and brighter as they drew nearer and nearer to the standing Stars. But as they came right up to Aslan one or other of two things happened to each of them. They all looked straight in his face; I don't think they had any choice about that. And when some looked, the expression of their faces changed terribly - it was fear aend hatred: except that, on the faces of Talking Beasts, the fear and hatred lasted only for a fraction of a second. You could see that they suddenly ceased to be Talking Beasts.They were just ordinary animals. And all the creatures who looked at Aslan in that way swerved to their right, his left, and disappeared into his huge black shadow, which (as you heard) streamed away to the left of the doorway. The children never saw them again. I don't know what became of them. But the others looked in the face of Aslan and loved him, though some of them were very frightened at the same time. And all these came in at the Door, in on Aslan's right. There were some queer specimens among them. Eustace even recognised one of those very Dwarfs who had helped to shoot the Horses. But he had no time to wonder about that sort of thing (and anyway it was no business of his) for a great joy put everything else out of this head. Among the happy creatures who now came crowding round Tirian and his friends were all those whom they had thought dead. There was Roonwit the Centaur and Jewel the Unicorn, and the good Boar and the good Bear and Farsight the Eagle, and the dear Dogs and the Horses, and Poggin the Dwarf.
Emeth the Calormene: "So I went over much grass and many flowers and among all kinds of wholesome and delectable trees till lo! in a narrow place between two rocks there came to meet me a great Lion. The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephant's; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes, like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was more terrible than the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he surpassed all that is in the world, even as the rose in bloom surpasses the dust of the desert. Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of Thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou has done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites. I take to me the services which thou hast done to him, for I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if a man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted."
And there was kissing and handshaking and old jokes revived, (you've no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years)...
"I see," [Lucy] said at last, thoughtfully. "I see now. This garden is like the Stable. It is far bigger inside than it was outside."
"Of course, Daughter of Eve," said the Faun. "The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside."
Lucy looked hard at the garden and saw that it was not really a garden at all but a whole world, with its own rivers and woods and sea and mountains. But they were not strange: she knew them all.
"I see," she said. "This is still Narnia, and more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below, just as it was more real and more beautiful than the Narnia outside and Stable door! I see . . . world within world, Narnia within Narnia. . . . "
"Yes," said Mr. Tumnus, "like an onion: except that as you continue to go in and in, each circle is larger than the last."
Then Aslan turned to them and said:
"You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be."
Lucy said, "We're so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often."
"No fear of that, " said Aslan. "Have you not guessed?"
Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
"There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadow-Lands - dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."
No sooner do we believe that God loves us than there is an impulse to believe that He does so, not because He is Love, but because we are intrinsically lovable. The Pagans obeyed this impulse unabashed; a good man was "dear to the gods" because he was good. We, being better taught, resort to subterfuge. Far be it from us to think that we have virtues for which God could love us. But then, how magnificently we have repented! As Bunyan says, describing his first and illusory conversion, "I thought there was no man in England that pleased God better than I." Beaten out of this, we next offer our own humility to God's admiration. Surely He'll like that? Or if not that, our clear-sighted and humble recognition that we still lack humility. Thus, depth beneath depth and subtlety within subtlety, there remains some lingering idea of our own, our very own, attractiveness. It is easy to acknowledge, but almost impossible to realise for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.
As Christ is perfect God and perfect Man, the natural loves are called to become perfect Charity and also perfect natural loves. As God becomes Man "Not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God," so here; Charity does not dwindle into merely natural love but natural love is taken up into, made and tuned and obedient instrument of, Love Himself.
Perhaps, for many of us, all experience merely defines, so to speak, the shape of that gap where our love of God ought to be. It is not enough. It is something. If we cannot "practice the presence of God," it is something to practice the absence of God, to become increasingly aware of our unawareness...
I suppose the mere fact of being walled in gave the Wood part of its peculiar quality, for when a thing is enclosed, the mind does not willingly regard it as common. As I went forward over the quiet turf I had the sense of being received. The trees were just so wide apart that one saw uninterrupted foliage in the distance but the place where one stood seemed always to be a clearing; surrounded by a world of shadows, one walked in mild sunshine. Except for the sheep whose nibbling kept the grass so short and who sometimes raised their long, foolish faces to stare at me, I as quite alone; and it felt more like the loneliness of a very large room in a deserted house than like any ordinary solitude out of doors. I remember thinking, "This is the sort of place which, as a child, one would have been rather afraid of or else would have liked very much indeed." A moment later I thought, "But when alone - really alone - everyone is a child: or no one?" Youth and age touch only the surface of our lives.
"You are very kind," [Mark Studdock] said. "The only thing I should like to get just a little clearer is the exact - well, the exact scope of the appointment."
"Well," said Mr. Wither in a voice so low and rich that it was almost a sigh, "I am very glad you have raised this issue now in a quite informal way. Obviously neither you not I would wish to commit ourselves, in this room, in any sense which was at all injurious to the powers of the Committee. I quite understand your motives and - er - respect them. We are not, of course, speaking of an Appointment in the quasi-technical sense of the term; it would be improper for both of us (though, you may well remind me, in different ways) to do so - or at least it might lead to certain inconveniences. But I think I can most definitely assure you that nobody wants to force you into any kind of straight waistcoat or bed of Procrustes. We do not really think, among ourselves, in terms of strictly demarcated functions, of course. I take it that men like you and me are - well, to put it frankly, hardly in the habit of using concepts of that type. Everyone in the Institute feels that his own work is not so much a departmental contribution to an end already defined as a moment or grade in the progressive self-definition of an organic whole."