March 10, 2011

Quotable: In This House of Brede

Reading In This House of Brede right now, recommended by one of the Dominicans, and it is amazing.  You'll see quite a few quotes from it in the coming weeks.

Phillipa stopped.  She was visibly shivering and, making up her mind--or unmaking it--she turned into the Rose and Crown, Brede's oldest inn; habit taking over, she thought, and went into the saloon bar and ordered a double whiskey.  "I had three in half an hour," she told the Abbess afterwards.  "I don't know what the barman thought."

The bar was comfortable, with its warmth and light, its classes reflecting the heaped-up fire; its cheer might be ficticious, but it seemed a snug human place, and Phillipa sat on, spinning out that third drink.  She seemed rooted to her stool; she sipped and smoked, stubbing out one cigarette after another.  The barman looked several times at the tall figure sitting so silently with bent head but did not speak to her.  Then the clock struck the three quarters; in fifteen minute the parlours of the Abbey would be closed. Are you going to stay here forever? asked Phillipa of Phillipa.  Coward.  Coward.

She stood up, fastened her coat, paid the man and turned to go.  "Not turned to go," she said afterwards, "turned to come."

"You have left your cigarettes," said the barman.

"I don't want them."

"Giving up smoking?"

"Yes," said Phillipa an went out into the night.

--In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden

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