20 april 2007

Edith Wharton

In 1893 verscheen van Edith Wharton, die ik graag lees, het verhaal "The Fulness of Life". Een vrouw ligt op sterven, kijkt terug op haar huwelijk en spreekt over haar leven met de Spirit of Life.

Zegt ze:
"But I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes."

"And your husband," asked the Spirit, after a pause, "never got beyond the family sitting-room?"

"Never," she returned, impatiently; "and the worst of it was that he was quite content to remain there. He thought it perfectly beautiful, and sometimes, when he was admiring its commonplace furniture, insignificant as the chairs and tables of a hotel parlor, I felt like crying out to him: 'Fool, will you never guess that close at hand are rooms full of treasures and wonders, such as the eye of man hath not seen, rooms that no step has crossed, but that might be yours to live in, could you but find the handle of the door?'"

Vervang 'a woman's nature' door 'human nature', in ieder mens gaan immers verborgen kamers schuil, al kent men die vaak zelf niet. En lees Wharton, haar romans en verhalen overstijgen de vervlogen tijden, waarin ze zijn gesitueerd.

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