Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bogue's Fortune by Julian Symons (Perennial Library 1956)

Maureen got up off the floor and eyed him with undisguised interest. “l’m Maureen Gardner.I'm at the school, was rather, until it finished.”

“What are you going to do now?"

‘I'm leaving at the end of the week to join the Anarchist Country Community at Shovels End in Essex.”

“Are you now?" Bogue had a gaudy tie in his hand, and he talked to her while he knotted it. “I used to be very interested in Anarchism when I was a young man. In fact, l'll tell you a secret, I spoke on Anarchist platforms in Glasgow just after the war, that was the First War, you know. I was a red-hot revolutionary then, hot as you are now, I expect. Trouble with Anarchism, I found, was it’s against human nature. In a small group, yes, providing you’re all idealists, Anarchism's fine, answers all the problems. In a feudal society-well, yes, it’s still got some kind of answer. But once you get labor-saving machines, motor-cars, airplanes, not to mention all the bombs we’re inventing to save civilization, what can Anarchists do but settle down in country communities at Shovels End?" Bogue turned round and appealed to her, his arms spread wide, his face serious.

Maureen goggled at him. She had been won over, Applegate saw, won over as only a girl could be who had perhaps never been taken seriously before. “You think I shouldn’t go?”

“Not at all,” Bogue picked up a jacket that lay on the stairs behind him, thrust his arms into the sleeves. “We learn from our mistakes, if we ever learn. But the important thing is to have the capacity for making mistakes. To anyone of your age, faced with a choice, I’d say just this. Do the daring thing, the unusual thing, don’t do the commonplace thing.”

“Yes.” Maureen expelled what Applegate unhappily felt to be an almost reverent sigh.

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