Monday, February 24, 2014

Roger Scruton's Notes from Underground: A Scene

I'm currently reading, on my iPad, Notes from Underground, a novel by the conservative English philosopher Roger Scruton about the twilight years of Communist Prague, and I came upon this passage, which occurs soon after the young protagonist has met an equally young, mysterious woman:
She was standing a pace away from me, her back to the chapel, her eyes fixed on the Nusle steps.

"Do you see that old woman?" she asked.

I turned my eyes in the direction of hers. The woman with the dog was coming down now, handing her body from step to step, gripping the rail and muttering.

"Like the poodle in Faust," she went on, "he comes in many forms."


"Mephistopheles. The spirit who always denies."
How would you feel about a woman you'd just met if she uttered those words to you? The protagonist is already in love, so we can imagine his feelings. I think such words would spark my interest if I weren't in love, and thrill me if I were.

But I'd be expected to like that sort of thing, wouldn't I?

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