Friday, January 19, 2007

Manalive

I've just finished this book the Three Wise Men gave me as a present, Manalive. Well, in fact, I finished it a long time ago and I must tell you it's a fantastic book. I don't know why, but when I read Chesterton I feel like letting the the world know that this fellow is a genius !

This is one of the parts I most liked. I know it's a bit long to be just a part, but as far as I'm concerned, I'd quote the whole book. Actually, I've read a spanish translation and I wouldn't be able to quote a word if I hadn't managed to find this webpage :


''`Let me come off this place,' he cried; `I can't bear it.'
"`I rather doubt if it will bear you,' said Smith critically; `but before you break your neck, or I blow out your brains, or let you back into this room (on which complex points I am undecided) I want the metaphysical point cleared up. Do I understand that you want to get back to life?'
"`I'd give anything to get back,' replied the unhappy professor.
"`Give anything!' cried Smith; `then, blast your impudence, give us a song!'
"`What song do you mean?' demanded the exasperated Eames; `what song?'
"`A hymn, I think, would be most appropriate,' answered the other gravely. `I'll let you off if you'll repeat after me the words--

"`I thank the goodness and the grace
That on my birth have smiled.
And perched me on this curious place,
A happy English child.'

"Dr. Emerson Eames having briefly complied, his persecutor abruptly told him to hold his hands up in the air. Vaguely connecting this proceeding with the usual conduct of brigands and bushrangers, Mr. Eames held them up, very stiffly, but without marked surprise. A bird alighting on his stone seat took no more notice of him than of a comic statue.
"`You are now engaged in public worship,' remarked Smith severely, `and before I have done with you, you shall thank God for the very ducks on the pond.'
"`The celebrated pessimist half articulately expressed his perfect readiness to thank God for the ducks on the pond.
"`Not forgetting the drakes,' said Smith sternly. (Eames weakly conceded the drakes.) `Not forgetting anything, please. You shall thank heaven for churches and chapels and villas and vulgar people and puddles and pots and pans and sticks and rags and bones and spotted blinds.'
"`All right, all right,' repeated the victim in despair; `sticks and rags and bones and blinds.'
"`Spotted blinds, I think we said,' remarked Smith with a rogueish ruthlessness, and wagging the pistol-barrel at him like a long metallic finger.
"`Spotted blinds,' said Emerson Eames faintly.
"`You can't say fairer than that,' admitted the younger man, `and now I'll just tell you this to wind up with. If you really were what you profess to be, I don't see that it would matter to snail or seraph if you broke your impious stiff neck and dashed out all your drivelling devil-worshipping brains. But in strict biographical fact you are a very nice fellow, addicted to talking putrid nonsense, and I love you like a brother. I shall therefore fire off all my cartridges round your head so as not to hit you (I am a good shot, you may be glad to hear), and then we will go in and have some breakfast.'
"He then let off two barrels in the air, which the Professor endured with singular firmness, and then said, `But don't fire them all off.'
"`Why not' asked the other buoyantly.
"`Keep them,' asked his companion, `for the next man you meet who talks as we were talking.'

3 comments:

Lewis the Editor said...

I love that part! It reminds me of how much I need to read Manalive again.

Margaret said...

Goodness - so much to read. I haven't read this yet, but I'll have to now, because I'm fascinated by that little excerpt!

Love2Learn Mom said...

I think I'll have to check out Manalive next. I finally finished The Everlasting Man and am making my way through St. Francis of Assisi fairly quickly. I enjoy reading everyone's tidbits here.