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A Fragment of Life
     

A Fragment of Life

5.0 1
by Arthur Machen
 

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Edward Darnell awoke from a dream of an ancient wood, and of a clear
well rising into grey film and vapour beneath a misty, glimmering
heat; and as his eyes opened he saw the sunlight bright in the room,
sparkling on the varnish of the new furniture. He turned and found his
wife's place vacant, and with some confusion and wonder of the dream
still

Overview

Edward Darnell awoke from a dream of an ancient wood, and of a clear
well rising into grey film and vapour beneath a misty, glimmering
heat; and as his eyes opened he saw the sunlight bright in the room,
sparkling on the varnish of the new furniture. He turned and found his
wife's place vacant, and with some confusion and wonder of the dream
still lingering in his mind, he rose also, and began hurriedly to set
about his dressing, for he had overslept a little, and the 'bus passed
the corner at 9.15. He was a tall, thin man, dark-haired and
dark-eyed, and in spite of the routine of the City, the counting of
coupons, and all the mechanical drudgery that had lasted for ten
years, there still remained about him the curious hint of a wild
grace, as if he had been born a creature of the antique wood, and had
seen the fountain rising from the green moss and the grey rocks.

The breakfast was laid in the room on the ground floor, the back room
with the French windows looking on the garden, and before he sat down
to his fried bacon he kissed his wife seriously and dutifully. She
had brown hair and brown eyes, and though her lovely face was grave
and quiet, one would have said that she might have awaited her husband
under the old trees, and bathed in the pool hollowed out of the rocks.

They had a good deal to talk over while the coffee was poured out and
the bacon eaten, and Darnell's egg brought in by the stupid, staring
servant-girl of the dusty face. They had been married for a year, and
they had got on excellently, rarely sitting silent for more than an
hour, but for the past few weeks Aunt Marian's present had afforded a
subject for conversation which seemed inexhaustible. Mrs. Darnell had
been Miss Mary Reynolds, the daughter of an auctioneer and estate
agent in Notting Hill, and Aunt Marian was her mother's sister, who
was supposed rather to have lowered herself by marrying a coal
merchant, in a small way, at Turnham Green.

Marian had felt the family attitude a good deal, and the Reynoldses
were sorry for many things that had been said, when the coal merchant
saved money and took up land on building leases in the neighbourhood
of Crouch End, greatly to his advantage, as it appeared. Nobody had
thought that Nixon could ever do very much; but he and his wife had
been living for years in a beautiful house at Barnet, with
bow-windows, shrubs, and a paddock, and the two families saw but
little of each other, for Mr. Reynolds was not very prosperous. Of
course, Aunt Marian and her husband had been asked to Mary's wedding,
but they had sent excuses with a nice little set of silver apostle
spoons, and it was feared that nothing more was to be looked
for. However, on Mary's birthday her aunt had written a most
affectionate letter, enclosing a cheque for a hundred pounds from
'Robert' and herself, and ever since the receipt of the money
the Darnells had discussed the question of its judicious
disposal. Mrs. Darnell had wished to invest the whole sum in
Government securities, but Mr. Darnell had pointed out that the rate
of interest was absurdly low, and after a good deal of talk he had
persuaded his wife to put ninety pounds of the money in a safe mine,
which was paying five per cent. This was very well, but the remaining
ten pounds, which Mrs. Darnell had insisted on reserving, gave rise to
legends and discourses as interminable as the disputes of the schools.

At first Mr. Darnell had proposed that they should furnish the 'spare'
room. There were four bedrooms in the house: their own room, the small
one for the servant, and two others overlooking the garden, one of
which had been used for storing boxes, ends of rope, and odd numbers
of 'Quiet Days' and 'Sunday Evenings,' besides some worn suits
belonging to Mr. Darnell which had been carefully wrapped up and laid
by, as he scarcely knew what to do with them. The other room was
frankly waste and vacant, and one Saturday afternoon, as he was coming
home in the 'bus, and while he revolved that difficult question of the
ten pounds, the unseemly emptiness of the spare room suddenly came
into his mind, and he glowed with the idea that now, thanks to Aunt
Marian, it could be furnished. He was busied with this delightful
thought all the way home, but when he let himself in, he said nothing
to his wife, since he felt that his idea must be matured. He told
Mrs. Darnell that, having important business, he was obliged to go out
again directly, but that he should be back without fail for tea at
half-past six; and Mary, on her side, was not sorry to be alone, as
she was a little behind-hand with the household books.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013740709
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/06/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
84 KB

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Fragment of Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
for the most part, it goes without saying that pure philosophy texts make for difficult reading. To a great extent, kierkegaard is no exception. However, I would highly recommend this book for anyone struggling with questions of faith, particularly those involving the relationship between god and man. For me, the most valuable part of the book was the author's clear conflict and passion for the issues. It seemed to me that he was not trying to write as some great philosopher-king trying to bring light to the poor suffering masses, but as a sincerely conflicted human being, down in the trenches with the rest of us, just trying to understand what it all means. In short, although the style may be a little hard to wade through at times, it is a thouroughly thought-provoking and insightful book.