Book//mark – Invitation to the Waltz | Rosamond Lehmann, 1932

Invitation to the Waltz Rosamond Lehmann 1932

Rosamond Lehmann, Invitation to the Waltz, 1932 / Rosamond Lehmann, 1930s

“Advice to Young Journal Keepers. Be lenient with yourself. Conceal your worst faults, leave out your most shameful thoughts, actions, and temptations. Give yourself all the good and interesting qualities you want and haven’t got. If you should die young, what comfort would it be to your relatives to read the truth and have to say: It is not a pearl we have lost, but a swine?”

“She wore her new raspberry ice pink frock and a pink crystal heart on a gold chain. She was the portrait of a young girl in pink.”

“Why does one always feel silly telling one’s own name?”

“I want to do something absolutely different, or perhaps nothing at all: just stay where I am, in my home, and absorb each hour, each day, and be alone; and read and think; and walk about the garden in the night; and wait, wait…”

“How incessantly on one’s guard one had to be with clever people; what bad taste one could show without knowing it.”

“Yes, we are sure of it. These walls enclose a world. Here is continuity spinning a web from room to room, from year to year. It is safe in this house.”

“The sense of isolation seemed to enclose them together in a kind of intimacy.”

“Still, now and then they seemed to be holding behind them the surprising, the magic vistas of childhood – the sudden snow at night, whirling and furring without sound against the window; the full moon and all its shadows on the lawn; the Christmas sleigh and reindeer in the sky.”

“She was frightened, seeing dark vistas open out before her. Twenty-seven, thirty. Why, youth would be gone. It was unimaginable. What did he mean? In spite of the obscure and ambiguous twist of his speech, she felt his meaning crouching in it; a prophecy of change, of mistakes, of being lonely and not happy, too much to bear.”

“I have decided to keep a record of my inmost real-self thoughts. Perhaps it will help me to find out what I really am like: horrid, I know: selfish, conceited, and material-minded. For instance, lately whenever I’ve tried to concentrate on anything serious or beautiful, I’ve started thinking about the Spencers’ dance next week. I am ashamed of my pettiness. I’m going to try to do better this year–develop my character more and not always be thinking about enjoying myself. I’ve always been so happy, I dread disappointment and unhappiness, but they would be good for me. But I don’t want them.”

Rosamond Lehmann, Invitation to the Waltz, 1932

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