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Look Back on Happiness


Excerpt: ... together, and that would be the end. I might have pitied them both, for though life is good, life is stern. One result at any rate was accomplished. She had not sent for him in vain, nor had he come in vain. That was the end of the act. But there were more acts to come--many more. She had lost much: having been ravished, she gave herself away; why be niggardly now? And this is the destiny of her type, that they lose increasingly much, retaining ever less; what need to hold back now? The ground has been completely shifted: from half-measures to the immolation of all virtue. The type is well-known, and can be found at resorts and boarding-houses, where it grows and flourishes. In spite of her wasted adolescence, her examination and her "independence," she has been coming home from her office stool or her teacher's desk more or less exhausted; suddenly she finds herself in the midst of a sweet and unlimited idleness, with quantities of tinned food for her meals. The company round her is continually changing, tourists come and go, and she passes from hand to hand for walks and talks; the tone is "country informality." This is sheer loose living; this is a life stripped of all purpose. She does not even sleep enough because she hears through the thin wall every sound made by her neighbor in the next room, while arriving or departing Englishmen bang doors all night. In a short time she has become a neurotic, sated with company, surfeited with herself and the place. She is ready to go off with the next halfway respectable organ grinder that happens along. And so she pairs off with the most casual visitors, flirts with the guide, hovering about him and making bandages for his fingers, and at last throws herself into the arms of a nameless nobody who has arrived at the house today. This is the Torsen type. And now, at this very moment, she retires to her room to collect the fragments of herself, in preparation for her departure--at the end of the summer.... Hide synopsis

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