necromommycon: (Chase eager)
[personal profile] necromommycon
I'd been intending to share the joys of "Five Are Together Again" today, but PD, in what I can only assume is an effort to put me off men altogether and particularly off former public-school boys, has lent me David Blaize.

I don't know quite how to describe it. Best let it speak for itself, I think.

p. 57:
Bags sat down on the grass by him.
"I feel perfectly beastly," he said. "You're always horrid to me, and--and I like you so awfully...."

There was something heroic about this, for, though Bags could not play cricket, he wanted to watch it, and in especial to watch David. For when he was nice, he was, in Bags' unspoken phrase, "such an awfully fetching chap." He had all that one boy admires in another: he was quick and ready of laughter, he was in the eleven, which was an attraction, he was very good-looking, which was another, and in point of fact, at that portentous moment when it was made matter of common knowledge that Blaize's Christian name was David, Bags would have rather liked it if someone had proclaimed that his own name was Jonathan. But, as it was only George, it might as well remain a secret.

p. 146:
But Maddox still held it, looking at him.
"Oh, it doesn't matter," he said. "Just having a bath, were you?"
David paused. There was Maddox only looking at him, only smiling. But instantly he had some sense of choking discomfort. He looked back at him, frowning and puzzled, and his sense of discomfort hugely increased. He merely wanted to get away.
"Oh then, I think I'll go and dress," he said hurriedly, and, picking up his sponge, left the room and ran away down the dark passage to his dormitory.

All these weeks that intense friendship which was springing up between himself and David had been splendidly growing, and til now his influence had been exerted entirely for David's good. He had constantly shielded him, as on the night when he had found Hughes sitting on his bed, from all that could sully him, he had checked any hint of foul talk in David's presence, for, of all his lovable qualities, there was none so nobly potent to the elder boy than David's white innocence, his utter want of curiosity about all that was filthy. It didn't exist for him, but the danger of it (though, thank God, it had passed) he knew that he himself had brought near to him...Then he got up and looked at himself in the mirror above his mantelpiece, hating himself.
"You damned beast," he said. "You deserve to be shot."

"So I see. I'm not going to jaw you as well as lick you, but cribbing's an utterly rotten game, and I always whack anybody whom I find doing it. So get over that chair. I shall give you six."
"Gosh," said David quietly, presenting himself.
Maddox gave him four, and not in fun; it was not meant to be fun, and David felt the cold sweat stand out on his forehead. He could just prevent himself from crying out, but there was not much to spare, and he felt doubtful if he could stand two more. But Maddox, at the same moment, felt that he certainly couldn't, and he threw the racquet-handle into the corner.
"That's enough," he said.
David straightened himself up and turned round, wiping the sweat from a very white face.
"You--you can whack," he said. "I say, I feel rather bad. May I--"
There was a sudden singing in his ears, and Maddox caught him as he reeled, and put him gently down into a chair, as he leaned on him. But David's faintness was only momentary, and, recovering almost instantly, he saw that Maddox was looking almost as queer as he himself felt.

...yeahhhhhh. Quite.

Well, that does explain much about public-school inmates, such as why most women wouldn't touch one with a barge pole.

The whole thing has this sickly-sweet treacle-y feel to it, so that it manages to be both hilarious but also embarrassing to read, and it leaves me with a very slight urge to go beat up some nice boy in a uniform. Remind me never again to joke about the sillinesses to which girls are prone, or to listen in silence to anyone else joking about it. Because quite honestly, even at our very worst and silliest--which peaked, I think, at roughly nineteen for my immediate friends--we were never even a fraction as idiotic as this. No female I've ever met, even if caught at her worst and swooniest, ever approached it. Even a whole group of us nearly fainting away when our Favourite Undergraduate Professor said my name couldn't compare with that David-and-Jonathan line, ugh.

Also, there's something weirdly and killingly Freudian about the author's choice of words, so that fifteen-year-old David's discomfort "hugely increas[ing]" before he ran away "down the dark passage" had me in tears of LOL.
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C. M.

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