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Potterism A Tragi-Farcical Tract   By: (1881-1958)

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POTTERISM

A TRAGI FARCICAL TRACT

BY ROSE MACAULAY

Author of 'What Not,' etc.

1920

TO THE UNSENTIMENTAL PRECISIANS IN THOUGHT, WHO HAVE, ON THIS CONFUSED, INACCURATE, AND EMOTIONAL PLANET, NO FIT HABITATION

'They contract a Habit of talking loosely and confusedly.' J. CLARKE.

'My dear friend, clear your mind of cant.... Don't think foolishly.' SAMUEL JOHNSON.

'On the whole we are Not intelligent No, no, no, not intelligent.' W.S. GILBERT.

'Truth may perhaps come to the price of a Pearle, that sheweth best by day; But it will not rise to the price of a Diamond or Carbuncle, that sheweth best in varied lights. A mixture of a Lie doth ever adde Pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's mindes Vaine Opinions, Blattering Hopes, False Valuations, Imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the Mindes of a Number of Men poore shrunken Things, full of Melancholy and Indisposition and unpleasing to themselves?' FRANCIS BACON.

'What is it that smears the windows of the senses? Thought, convention, self interest.... We see the narrow world our windows show us not in itself, but in relation to our own needs, moods, and preferences ... for the universe of the natural man is strictly egocentric.... Unless we happen to be artists and then but rarely we never know the "thing seen" in its purity; never from birth to death, look at it with disinterested eyes.... It is disinterestedness, the saint's and poet's love of things for their own sakes ... which is the condition of all real knowledge.... When ... the verb "to have" is ejected from the centre of your consciousness ... your attitude to life will cease to be commercial and become artistic. Then the guardian at the gate, scrutinising and sorting the incoming impressions, will no longer ask, "What use is this to me? "... You see things at last as the artist does, for their sake, not for your own.' EVELYN UNDERHILL.

CONTENTS

PART I. TOLD BY R.M.

I. POTTERS II. ANTI POTTERS III. OPPORTUNITY IV. JANE AND CLARE

PART II. TOLD BY GIDEON

I. SPINNING II. DINING WITH THE HOBARTS III. SEEING JANE

PART III. TOLD BY LELIA YORKE

I. THE TERRIBLE TRAGEDY ON THE STAIRS II. AN AWFUL SUSPICION

PART IV. TOLD BY KATHERINE VARICK

A BRANCH OF STUDY

PART V. TOLD BY JUKE

GIVING ADVICE

PART VI. TOLD BY R.M.

I. THE END OF A POTTER MELODRAMA II. ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED III. THE PRECISIAN AT WAR WITH THE WORLD IV. RUNNING AWAY V. A PLACARD FOR THE PRESS

PART I:

TOLD BY R.M.

CHAPTER I

POTTERS

1

Johnny and Jane Potter, being twins, went through Oxford together. Johnny came up from Rugby and Jane from Roedean. Johnny was at Balliol and Jane at Somerville. Both, having ambitions for literary careers, took the Honours School of English Language and Literature. They were ordinary enough young people; clever without being brilliant, nice looking without being handsome, active without being athletic, keen without being earnest, popular without being leaders, open handed without being generous, as revolutionary, as selfish, and as intellectually snobbish as was proper to their years, and inclined to be jealous one of the other, but linked together by common tastes and by a deep and bitter distaste for their father's newspapers, which were many, and for their mother's novels, which were more. These were, indeed, not fit for perusal at Somerville and Balliol. The danger had been that Somerville and Balliol, till they knew you well, should not know you knew it.

In their first year, the mother of Johnny and Jane ('Leila Yorke,' with 'Mrs. Potter' in brackets after it), had, after spending Eights Week at Oxford, announced her intention of writing an Oxford novel. Oh God, Jane had cried within herself, not that; anything but that; and firmly she and Johnny had told her mother that already there were Keddy , and Sinister Street , and The Pearl , and The Girls of St... Continue reading book >>




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