Friday, December 01, 2006
This is what he wrote:
'DEAR FATHER, -- I dare say you will think it queer me writing you a letter like this, but it is the best thing I can do, and I hope you will excuse me. I dare say you will remember I told you that night when you came home late from Manchester here in the attic that I wanted to be an architect. You replied that what I wanted was business experience. If you say that I have not enough business experience yet, I agree to that, but I want it to be understood that later on, when it is the proper time, I am to be an architect. You know I am very fond of architecture, and I feel that I must be an architect. I feel I shall not be happy in the printing business because I want to be an architect. I am now nearly seventeen. Perhaps it is too soon yet for me to be apprenticed to an architect, and so I can go on learning business habits. But I just want it to be understood. I am quite sure you wish me to be happy in life, and I shan't be happy if I am always regretting that I have not gone in for being an architect. I know I shall like architecture. -- Your affectionate son,
'Well, what?' he growled savagely, as Edwin halted.
In spite of his advanced age, Edwin began to cry. Yes, the tears came out of his eyes.
'And now you begin blubbing!' said his father.
'And what's made ye setting on architecting, I'd like to be knowing?' Darius went on.
Edwin was not able to answer this question. He had never put it to himself. Assuredly he could not, at the pistol's point, explain why he wanted to be an architect. He did not know. He announced this truth ingenuously --
'I don't know -- I --'
'I sh'd think not! said his father. 'D'ye think architecting'll be any better than this?' 'This' meant printing.
'I don't know --'
'Ye don't know! Ye don't know! Darius replied testily. His testiness was only like foam on the great wave of his resentment.
It's all very well', observed Charlie reflectively, fingering one or two of the other volumes -- it's all very well, and Victor Hugo is Victor Hugo; but you can say what you like-- there's a lot of this that'll bear skipping, your worships.'
'Not a line!' said a passionate, vibrating voice.
The voice so startled and thrilled Edwin that he almost jumped, as he looked round. To Edwin it was dramatic; it was even dangerous and threatening. He had never heard a quiet voice so charged with intense emotion. Hilda Lessways had come back into the room, and she stood near the door, her face gleaming in the dusk. She stood like an Amazonian defender of the aged poet. Edwin asked himself, 'Can anyone be so excited as that about a book?' The eyes, lips and nostrils were a revelation to him. He could feel his heart beating. But the girl strongly repelled him. Nobody else appeared to be conscious that any thing singular had occurred.