Kobiety (Women): A Novel of Polish Life
Excerpt: It is a fine summer afternoon, and sultry. In the pins overhead there is a faint mur mur, continuous, a little sad; the birches, with their slender waving boughs, utter a quiet whisper, but no breeze is to be felt. As I lie here, I presently fall to crooning a sing-song chant - not any known air, but one made up of many tunes, heard long ago, or never heard at all. The words, too, are either remembered, or they spring up as I sing. If the rhyme fails me, I do not break off the tune to find one, but make an assonance do just as well. So I sing of a dream I have dreamt.
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able answer asked bear beautiful believe bring changed close cold comes continue dark death delight desire doubt dream dress everything existence eyes face fancy fear feel felt flowers followed force Gina girl give glance gone hands happy head hear heart hold husband Imszanski interest Janka Janusz keep kiss laugh least leave less light lips live longer look Madame married Martha matter means mind nature never night Obojanski once Owinski pain passed past perhaps play possible present reason Roslawski round seen side silence smile sort soul speak stand suffer surely talk tears tell things thought tion to-day told tone true turned understand voice walk whole wife Wildenhoff wish Witold woman women
Page 193 - ... It is all about souls. Women shed tears, tearing at their handkerchiefs with their teeth. In these busy days with so much necessary work lying around and nobody to do it, that seems like wasted energy. A wife and mother with a somewhat discursive husband discourses thus: "Looked at through the spasm of Pain," she continued, "the sun itself is black, the most superb flowers in the Red Garden turn to tongues of flame, and the cistern filled with flowers of bliss changes into an infinite, infinite...
Page 185 - ... Where man has testified against woman, one only half believes him. But when woman insists on taking the stand against herself, one is forced to believe. Must the final classification be the Fallen, the Forsaken, and the Frustrated? It would seem so. But with one paragraph there can be entire agreement. "Owinski, looking down the long vista of the street, took not the slightest interest in what she was saying. Gina became silent; it may be that a feeling of shame had come upon her.
Page 317 - Is all this monstrous egotism, vibrant and greedy beneath its concealing veils of so many different textures only "a case of design in nature," as Schopenauer says? Is some such canticle as this the authoritative utterance of the soul of woman : Oh, how I love myself in all my manifestations! In all my loves and abhorrences; in all my dreamings and scornings; in all those most mournful victories of my own unconquerable strength! If it is a really representative voice, a League for the AntiFeminization...
Page 85 - ... place before? . . . What is to come later? . . . Never mind: it is all the same !" "Kobiety" is an endless temptation to quotation: "There is nothing in the world ... so beautiful as that which is not in it. ... Oh, how sweet is the craving after the love which is nowhere to be found !" And again : "I am of those whose sin is greater than the sin of Eve and Adam: I have eaten of the fruit of the knowledge that there is neither good nor evil.
Page 194 - ... truth, it seems, for of her own free will she is analyzing herself. She is all instinct and emotion. "An instinct that we find equally developed in the most refined inamorata with her deep emotions and in the average middleclass woman, all given up to passivity and routine." She testifies further: "All women are at their heart's core exactly alike; during all their life they follow one thing alone and perish in pursuit of it.
Page 217 - ... liked those qualities in her, and she had developed them to please him. A specious plea. A weak defense, showing a dangerous pliability of character, a lack of personal ideal. Now we are getting at the truth, it seems, for of her own free will she is analyzing herself. She is all instinct and emotion. "An instinct that we find equally developed in the most refined inamorata with her deep emotions and in the average middleclass woman, all given up to passivity and routine.
Page 255 - A fact is true, but only for the day. When he is beside you, and assures you of his love, you will have the greatest of all truths : the indubitable truth in the present. What took place before? . . . What is to come later? . . . Never mind: it is all the same!
Page 195 - Qlp for it — none. Though we may be all our lives forcing upon ourselves the conviction that we have the same rights as men and are capable of bearing the same amount of liberty as they." Was this what the strange soul of Mary Olivier was seeking in the name of religion, of philosophy? Certainly there is no quiet in her, no sense of fulfillment until she found a lover. And with that experience to hold in memory life had apparently acquired a sufficiently satisfactory meaning. There...