donderdag 26 juli 2012

Anna Jameson -- 27 juli 1821

July 27. — A conversation with S** always leaves me sad. Can it then be possible that he is right ? No, O no ! my understanding rejects the idea with indignation, my whole heart recoils from it ; yet if it should be so ! what then : have I been till now the dupe and the victim of factitious feeling? Virtue, honor, feeling, generosity, you are then but words, signifying nothing! Yet if this vain philosophy lead to happiness, would not S** be happy? It is evident he is not. When he said that the object existed not in this world which could lead him twenty yards out of his way, did this sound like happiness? I remember that while he spoke, instead of feeling either persuaded or convinced by his captivating eloquence, I was perplexed and distressed; I suffered a painful compassion, and tears were in my eyes. I, who so often have pitied myself, pitied him at that moment a thousand times more; I thought, I would not buy tranquillity at such a price as he has paid for it. Yet if he should be right? That if, which every now and then suggests itself, is terrible; it shakes me in the utmost recesses of my heart.
S**, in spite of myself, and in spite of all that with most perverted pains, he has made himself, (so different from what he once was) can charm and interest, pain and perplex me: — not so D**, another disciple of the same school : he inspires me with the strongest antipathy I ever felt for a human being. Insignificant and disagreeable in his appearance, he looks as if all the bile under heaven had found its way into his complexion, and all the infernal irony of a Mephistopheles into his turned up nose and insolent curled lip. He is, he says he is, an atheist, a materialist, a sensualist : the pains he takes to deprave and degrade his nature, render him so disgusting, that I could not even speak in his presence; I dreaded lest he should enter into conversation with me. I might have spared myself the fear. He piques himself on his utter contempt for, and disregard of women; and after all, is not himself wor- thy these words I bestow on him.

Anna Jameson (1794-1860) was een Britse schrijfster. Haar wederwaardigheden van een reis naar Italië verwerkte ze in (het strikt genomen fictieve) The Diary of an Ennuyée (1826).

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