Sophie's Reviews > Good Morning, Midnight

Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
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Feb 09, 10


'I understand' she said, 'I understand. All the same...Sometimes I'm just as unhappy as you are. But that's not to say that I let everybody see it.'

I had looked at this, I had looked at that, I had looked at the people passing in the street and at a shop-window full of artificial limbs.

But careful, careful! Don't get excited. You know what happens when you get excited and exalted, don't you?...Yes...And then, you know how you collapse like a pricked balloon, don't you? Having no staying power...Yes, exactly...

I would feel as if I were drugged, sitting there, watching those damned dolls, thinking what a success they would have made of their lives if they had been women. Satin skin, silk hair, velvet eyes, sawdust heart -- all complete.

He looks at me with distaste. Plat du jour -- boiled eyes, served cold....

'Quiet, quiet,' I say to the clock when I am winding it up, and it makes a noise between a belch and a giggle.

My life, which seems so simple and monotonous, is really a complicated affair of cafes where they like me and cafes where they don't. streets that are friendly, streets that aren't, rooms where I might be happy, rooms where I never shall be, looking-glasses I look nice in, looking glasses I don't, dresses that will be lucky, dresses that won't, and so on. -46

I have seen that in people's eyes all my life. I am asking myself all the time what the devil I am doing here. All the time.

He is one of those people with bright blue eyes and what they call a firm tread. He is sure to be an optimist.

'Very nice, very nice indeed. Beautiful teeth,' I say in an insolent voice. 'Yes, I know,' he answers simply.

There was a monsieur, but the monsieur has gone. There was more than one monsieur, but they have all gone. What an assortment! One of every kind....

Now the room expands and the iron band round my heart loosens. The miracle has happened. I am happy.

My beautiful life in front of me, opening out like a fan in my hand....

I want a long, calm book about people with large incomes--a book like a flat green meadow and the sheep feeding in it.

How on earth can you say why you love people? You might as well say you know where the lightning is going to strike. At least, that's how it has always seemed to me.

'Well, well,' it says, last time you looked in here you were a bit different, weren't you? Would you believe me that, of all the faces I see, I remember each one, that I keep a ghost to throw back at each one -- lightly, like an echo -- when it looks into me again?' All glasses in all lavabos do this. But it's not as bad as it might be. This is just the interval when drink makes you look nice, before it makes you look awful.
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