The Glimpses of the Moon
And how can anyone give you happiness who hasnt got it himself?
Apart from the pleasure of looking at her and listening to her--of enjoying in her what others less discriminatingly but as liberally appreciated--he had the sense, between himself and her, of a kind of free-masonry of precocious tolerance and irony. They had both, in early youth, taken the measure of the world they happened to live in: they knew just what it was worth to them and for what reasons, and the community of these reasons lent to their intimacy its last exquisite touch.
But, my dear, it's just the fugitiveness of mortal caring that makes it so exquisite! It's because we know we can't hold fast to it, or to each other, or to anything...
He knew enough of his subject to know that he did not know enough to write about it....
Here were two people who had penetrated farther than she into the labyrinth of the wedded state, and struggled through some of its thorniest passages; and yet both, one consciously, the other half-unaware, testified to the mysterious fact which was already dawning on her: that the influence of a marriage begun in mutual understanding is too deep not to reassert itself even in the moment of flight and denial.
Perhaps, after all, Susy reflected, it was the world she was meant for, since the other, the brief Paradise of her dreams, had already shut its golden doors upon her.
She wondered if, when human souls try to get too near each other, they do not inevitably become mere blurs to each other's vision.
Superficially so like them all, and so eager to outdo them in detachment and adaptability, ridiculing the prejudices he had shaken off, and the people to whom he belonged, he still kept, under his easy pliancy, the skeleton of old faiths and old fashions. "He talks every language as well as the rest of us," Susy had once said of him, "but at least he talks one language better than the others.
That was the way of the world they lived in. Nobody questioned, nobody wondered any more-because nobody had time to remember.
The Fates seldom forget the bargains made with them, or fail to ask for compound interest.
Well--there it was, and the fault was doubtless neither hers nor his, but that of the world they had grown up in, of their own moral contempt for it and physical dependence on it, of his half-talents and her half-principles, of the something in them both that was not stout enough to resist nor yet pliant enough to yield.
Will-power, he saw, was not a thing one could suddenly decree oneself to possess. It must be built up imperceptibly and laboriously out of a succession of small efforts to meet definite objects, out of the facing of daily difficulties instead of cleverly eluding them, or shifting their burden on others.