Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Extracts from Jean Rhys, Smile Please - An Unfinished Autobiography:


I skimmed through Paradise Lost because I was curious about Satan. To me, and I think to most people then, Satan existed: the personification of evil, for some reason the ruler of this world. Satan was the enemy of mankind. He hated mankind and he was very clever in attacking it. He could be a very handsome young man, or he could be so ugly that just to see him would drive you mad. He was responsible for all the evil in this world and he perpetually made war on mankind.
So far as I could understand, everyone believed in Satan, and he was to blame for everything that had gone wrong. He could be pitiable, as in The Sorrows of Satan, or he could be terrible, the destroyer. In any case, for some reason he was all-powerful.

My Day

When the post comes, the day starts. Sometimes the news is very satisfactory. I'm to be given a tree by Devon County Council. Indeed, they don't say 'tree' but 'trees'. Have I room for 'trees'? How far do the roots spread? I must find out. Wouldn't it be marvellous if I had room for several trees and at last I could live in a forest, which has always been one of my ambitions. Later on I can plan a long elaborate meal, my first if I'm hungry. Settle for bread, cheese and a glass of wine, if I'm not. Isn't the sadness of being alone much stressed and the compensations left out?

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