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Results 1 - 50 of 93 Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at comfort-dom.info Title: Decline and Fall Author: Waugh, Evelyn [Arthur Evelyn St John] ( ) Date of first publication: [this revised version] Decline And Fall Evelyn Waugh - Internet Archive. A Handful of Download PDF : Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh Free Book PDF Consent Laws, Sexual Harassment, Statutory Rape, Sexual Assault, Sex With a Drunk Person, Date Rape.
Everything has been like this since I left the ministry. If things had happened a little differently I should be a rector with my own house and bath-room. I might even have been a rural dean, only'—and Mr Prendergast dropped his voice to a whisper—'only I had Doubts. I somehow feel you'll understand. I had just been presented to a living in Worthing.
It was such an attractive church, not old, but very beautifully decorated, six candles on the altar, Reservation in the Lady Chapel, and an excellent heating apparatus which burned coke in a little shed by the sacristy door; no graveyard, just a hedge of golden privet between the church and the rectory. She bought some chintz, out of her own money, for the drawing-room curtains. She used to be "at home" once a week to the ladies of the congregation.
One of them, the dentist's wife, gave me a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica for my study. It was all very pleasant until my Doubts began. But I expect I am boring you? That's to say, unless you find it painful to think about. It happened like this, quite suddenly. We had been there about three months, and my mother had made great friends with some people called Bundle—rather a curious name.
I think he was an insurance agent until he retired. Mrs Bundle used very kindly to ask us in to supper on Sundays after Evensong. They were pleasant, informal gatherings, and I used quite to look forward to them. I can see them now as they sat there on this particular evening; there was my mother and Mr and Mrs Bundle, and their son, rather a spotty boy, I remember, who used to go in to Brighton College by train every day, and Mrs Bundle's mother, a Mrs Round, rather deaf, but a very good Churchwoman, and Mrs Abel—that was the name of the dentist's wife who gave me the Encyclopaedia Britannica—and old Major Ending, the people's warden.
I had preached two sermons that day besides taking the children's Bible-class in the afternoon, and I had rather dropped out of the conversation.
They were all talking away quite happily about the preparations that were being made on the pier for the summer season, when suddenly, for no reason at all, my Doubts began. You see, it wasn't the ordinary sort of Doubt about Cain's wife or the Old Testament miracles or the consecration of Archbishop Parker. I'd been taught how to explain all those while I was at college. No, it was something deeper than all that.
I couldn't understand why God had made the world at all. There was my mother and the Bundles and Mrs Round talking away quite unconcernedly while I sat there wrestling with this sudden assault of doubt. You see how fundamental that is. Once granted the first step, I can see that everything else follows—Tower of Babel, Babylonian captivity, Incarnation, Church, bishops, incense, everything—but what I couldn't see, and what I can't see now, is, why did it all begin?
He said that he didn't think the point really arose as far as my practical duties as a parish priest were concerned. I discussed it with my mother. At first she was inclined to regard it as a passing phase. But it didn't pass, so finally she agreed with me that the only honourable thing to do was to resign my living; she never really recovered from the shock, poor old lady!
It was a great blow after she had bought the chintz and got so friendly with the Bundles. Meanwhile—' Clutterbuck ran past the door, whistling hideously. The boys stood ranged along the panelled walls, each holding in his hands a little pile of books. Grimes sat on one of the chairs beside the baronial chimney-piece. Do I smell of drink? Prendy been telling you about his Doubts? I don't pretend to be a particularly pious sort of chap, but I've never had any Doubts. When you've been in the soup as often as I have, it gives you a sort of feeling that everything's for the best, really.
You know, God's in His heaven; all's right with the world. I can't quite explain it, but I don't believe one can ever be unhappy for long provided one does just exactly what one wants to and when one wants to. The last chap who put me on my feet said I was "singularly in harmony with the primitive promptings of humanity". I've remembered that phrase because somehow it seemed to fit me.
Here comes the old man. This is where we stand up. He wore an orchid in his button-hole. The Doctor advanced to the table at the end of the room, picked up a Bible, and opening it at random, read a chapter of blood-curdling military history without any evident relish.
From that he plunged into the Lord's Prayer, which the boys took up in a quiet chatter. Mr Prendergast's voice led them in tones that testified to his ecclesiastical past. Then the Doctor glanced at a sheet of notes he held in his hand. The Fagan cross-country running challenge cup will not be competed for this year on account of the floods. I look to the prefects to stop this, unless of course they are themselves responsible, in which case I must urge them in my own interests to make use of the village post-office, to which they have access.
Boys, I have been deeply distressed to learn that several cigar ends have been found—where have they been found? I regard this as reprehensible. What boy has been smoking cigars in the downstair lavatory? If I do not hear from him by then the whole school will be heavily punished.
I hope the little beast has the sense to keep quiet. The boys filed out. It is not a gentlemanly fault. Just keep them quiet.
Paul watched him amble into his class-room at the end of the passage, where a burst of applause greeted his arrival. Dumb with terror, he went into his own class-room. Ten boys sat before him, their hands folded, their eyes bright with expectation. At this the boy took out a handkerchief and began to cry quietly. He's very sensitive; it's his Welsh blood, you know: Say "Good morning" to him, sir, or he won't be happy all day. After all, it is a good morning, isn't it, sir? The ten boys stopped talking and sat perfectly still, staring at him.
He felt himself getting hot and red under their scrutiny. What is your name? He's just trying to be funny. Me trying to be funny! Please, sir, I'm Tangent, sir; really I am.
Anyone else can jolly well go to blazes. I wouldn't be called Tangent, not on the end of a barge-pole. Blows were already being exchanged, when the door opened and Grimes came in. There was a slight hush. Meanwhile you will all write an essay on "Self-indulgence". There will be a prize of half a crown for the longest essay, irrespective of any possible merit. Paul, still holding the stick, gazed despondently out of the window. Now and then there rose from below the shrill voices of the servants scolding each other in Welsh.
By the time the bell rang Clutterbuck had covered sixteen pages, and was awarded the half-crown. I find all boys utterly intractable. I don't know why it is. Of course my wig has a lot to do with it.
Have you noticed that I wear a wig? It was a great mistake my ever getting one. I thought when I left Worthing that I looked too old to get a job easily.
Full text of "Decline And Fall Evelyn Waugh"
I was only forty-one. It was very expensive, even though I chose the cheapest quality. Perhaps that's why it looks so like a wig. I knew from the first that it was a mistake, but once they had seen it, it was too late to go back. They make all sorts of jokes about it. I dare say it's a good thing to localize their ridicule as far as possible.
If it wasn't for my pipes, I don't know how I should manage to keep on. What made you come here? And there's the bell. I believe that loathsome little man's taken my gown. It was their second music lesson.
How d'you mean "hit"? He'd just got a tin of pine-apple chunks Captain Grimes had given him. Tangent said, "Are you going to take that into Hall? It's little stinkers like you," he said, "who turn decent masters savage.
I only wish she'd go out more often. It's my opinion and Brolly's that Dingy and Philbrick are having an intrigue. I'll tell you another thing. You know all those trunk calls the Doctor was talking about.
It was Philbrick made them. That man never leaves the telephone day or night. If you ask me, there's something fishy about Philbrick. As Beste-Chetwynde had told him, he was a distinct success with his form; after the first day an understanding had been established between them. It was tacitly agreed that when Paul wished to read or to write letters he was allowed to do so undisturbed while he left them to employ the time as they thought best; when Paul took it upon him to talk to them about their lessons they remained silent, and when he set them work to do some of it was done.
It had rained steadily, so that there had been no games. No punishments, no reprisals, no exertion, and in the evenings the confessions of Grimes, any one of which would have glowed with outstanding shamelessness from the appendix to a treatise in sexual psychology. Mr Prendergast came in with the post. There was a time when I used to get five or six letters a day, not counting circulars. My mother used to file them for me to answer—one heap of charity appeals, another for personal letters, another for marriages and funerals, another for baptisms and churchings and another for anonymous abuse.
I wonder why it is the clergy always get so many letters of that sort, sometimes from quite educated people. I remember my father had great trouble in that way once, and he was forced to call in the police because they became so threatening.
And, do you know, it was the curate's wife who had sent them—such a quiet little woman. Grimes' look like bills. I can't think why shops give that man credit at all. But d'you know that except for my tobacco and the Daily News and occasionally a little port when it's very cold, I don't think I've bought anything for two years.
The last thing I bought was that walking stick. I got it at Shanklin, and Grimes uses it for beating the boys with. I hadn't really meant to buy one, but I was there for the day—two years this August—and I went into the tobacconist's to buy some tobacco.
He hadn't the sort I wanted, and I felt I couldn't go without getting something, so I bought that. It cost one and six,' he added wistfully, 'so I had no tea. It had been forwarded from Onslow Square. On the flap were embossed the arms of Scone College. It was from one of his four friends. Oxford My Dear Pennyfeather it ranI need hardly tell you how distressed I was when I heard of your disastrous misfortune.
It seems to me that a real injustice has been done to you. I have not heard the full facts of the case, but I was confirmed in my opinion by a very curious incident last evening. I was just going to bed when Digby-Vaine-Trumpington came into my rooms without knocking. He was smoking a cigar. I had never spoken to him before, as you know, and was very much surprised at his visit.
It's all I can spare at the moment. Wouldn't it be a useful thing to do? I asked him how he dared treat a gentleman like that just because he wasn't in his awful set. He seemed rather taken aback and said: I bicycled over to St Magnus's at Little Beckley and took some rubbings of the brasses there.
I wished you had been with me. It seems to me that the great problem of education is to train the moral perceptions, not merely to discipline the appetites. I cannot help thinking that it is in greater fastidiousness rather than in greater self-control that the future progress of the race lies. I shall be interested to hear what your experience has been over the matter. The chaplain does not agree with me in this.
He says great sensibility usually leads to enervation of will. Let me know what you think. It doesn't do to rely on one's own feelings, does it, not in anything? I hope you are in no doubt about that. Accept it at once, of course. Why, it takes me half a term to earn that. In the dining-hall Paul gave the letter to Grimes.
I should think you would. He thought about it all through afternoon school, all the time he was dressing for dinner, and all through dinner. It was a severe struggle, but his early training was victorious. It would always be on my mind. If I refuse, I shall be sure of having done right.
I shall look back upon my self-denial with exquisite self-approval. By refusing I can convince myself that, in spite of the unbelievable things that have been happening to me during the last ten days, I am still the same Paul Pennyfeather I have respected so long. It is a test-case of the durability of my ideals. There is every reason why I should take this money.
Digby-Vaine-Trumpington is exceedingly rich; and if he keeps it, it will undoubtedly be spent on betting or on some deplorable debauch. Owing to his party I have suffered irreparable harm. My whole future is shattered, and I have directly lost one hundred and twenty pounds a year in scholarships and two hundred and fifty pounds a year allowance from my guardian. By any ordinary process of thought, the money is justly mine. But,' said Paul Pennyfeather, 'there is my honour.
For generations the British bourgeoisie have spoken of themselves as gentlemen, and by that they have meant, among other things, a self-respecting scorn of irregular perquisites.
It is the quality that distinguishes the gentleman from both the artist and the aristocrat. Now I am a gentleman. I can't help it: I just can't take that money. Tell Trumpington send money quick, and signed it "Pennyfeather". I don't mind lending you the bob till it comes, either.
Decline and Fall: Evelyn Waugh's orgy of bad taste
I am glad that my dealings with him are at an end. I cannot pretend to understand your attitude in this matter, but no doubt you are the best judge.
Stiggins is reading a paper to the O. Everyone expects rather a row, because you know how keen Walton is on the mystical element, which I think Stiggins is inclined to discount. There is a most interesting article in the Educational Review on the new methods that are being tried at the Innesborough High School to induce co-ordination of the senses.
They put small objects into the children's mouths and make them draw the shapes in red chalk. Have you tried this with your boys? I must say I envy you your opportunities. Are your colleagues enlightened?
Still, we've got the doings. How about a binge? I should like to ask Prendy too. It's just what Prendy needs. He's been looking awfully down in the mouth lately. Why shouldn't we all go over to the Metropole at Cwmpryddyg for dinner one night? We shall have to wait until the old boy goes away, otherwise he'll notice that there's no one on duty. I hardly know what to say.
Of course, I should love it. I can't remember when I dined at an hotel last. Certainly not since the War. It will be a treat. My dear boy, I'm quite overcome.
The Doctor made one of his rare visits to the school dining-hall. At his entry everybody stopped eating and laid down his knife and fork. Clutterbuck, will you kindly stop eating while I am addressing the school. The boys' manners need correcting, Mr Prendergast. I look to the prefects to see to this. Boys, the chief sporting event of the year will take place in the playing-fields tomorrow. Mr Pennyfeather, who, as you know, is himself a distinguished athlete, will be in charge of all arrangements.
The preliminary heats will be run off today. All boys must compete in all events. The Countess of Circumference has kindly consented to present the prizes. Mr Prendergast will act as referee, and Captain Grimes as time-keeper. I shall myself be present tomorrow to watch the final competitions. Mr Pennyfeather, perhaps you will favour me with an interview when you have finished your luncheon? Do you wear spiked shoes, sir? You see, we never know beforehand when there's going to be sports, so we don't have time to get ready.
Now I shall have to stay here all the afternoon. Florence, will you get on to the Clutterbucks on the telephone and ask them to come over, and the Hope-Brownes.
I think the Warringtons are too far away, but you might ask them, and of course the Vicar and old Major Sidebotham. The more guests the better, Florence! Sandwiches, foie gras sandwiches—last time, you remember, the liver sausage you bought made Lady Bunyan ill—and cakes, plenty of cakes, with coloured sugar!
You had better take the car into Llandudno and get them there. There should be flags left over from last time. No expense must be spared. Pennyfeather, I want you to get the results of the first heats out by four o'clock. Then you can telephone them to the printers, and we shall have the programmes by tomorrow. Tell them that fifty will be enough; they must be decorated with the school colours and crest in gold.
And there must be flowers, Diana, banks of flowers,' said the Doctor, with an expansive gesture. Do you think there ought to be a bouquet for Lady Circumference? It is rarely that the scholarly calm of Llanabba gives place to festival, but when it does taste and dignity shall go unhampered. It shall be an enormous bouquet, redolent of hospitality.
You are to procure the most expensive bouquet that Wales can offer; do you understand? Flowers, youth, wisdom, the glitter of jewels, music,' said the Doctor, his imagination soaring to dizzy heights under the stimulus of the words; 'music!
There must be a band.
Decline and Fall: Evelyn Waugh's orgy of bad taste
You'll be having fireworks next. I noticed how shabby he looked this morning. Flowers and fireworks are one thing, but I insist on drawing a line somewhere.
It would be sinful to buy Mr Prendergast a tie. Will you get on to them, Florence? I think Mr Davies at the station is the bandmaster. Can the Clutterbucks come? And then there is the Press. We must ring up the Flint and Denbigh Herald and get them to send a photographer. Will you see to that, Philbrick?
I remember at one of our sports I omitted to offer whisky to the Press, and the result was a most unfortunate photograph. Boys do get into such indelicate positions during the obstacle race, don't they? I think you had better take Grimes into Llandudno with you to help with the prizes. I don't think there is any need for undue extravagance with the prizes.
It gives boys a wrong idea of sport. I wonder whether Lady Circumference would think it odd if we asked her to present parsley crowns. Utility, economy and apparent durability are the qualities to be sought for, I think. It doesn't do to let any boy win more than two events; I leave you to arrange that. I think it would be only right if little Lord Tangent won something, and Beste-Chetwynde—yes, his mother is coming down, too. I only learned this morning that Lady Circumference proposed to visit us, and as Mrs Beste-Chetwynde was coming too, it seemed too good an opportunity to be missed.
It is not often that the visits of two such important parents coincide. They always say that she poisoned her husband, but of course little Beste-Chetwynde doesn't know that. Remember that the Patriots are in the right and are going to win. The Beast stands by them four-square.
But they must win quickly. The British public has no interest in a war which drags on indecisively. A few sharp victories, some conspicuous acts of personal bravery on the Patriot side and a colourful entry into the capital. That is The Beast Policy for the war. An American journalist tells how he went unknowingly to the wrong Balkan country to report on a revolution and described imaginary riots which his paper printed, actually provoking a revolution in that country.
Instead of enlightening readers, journalists bring about disorder in public life through their irresponsibility. The host of journalists and concession-hunters who invade Africa aggravate an already confused situation and exploit it for their own purposes.
The white men, who are supposed to bring the benefits of civilization to the African continent, are an element of trouble through their futile activity. Their aimless existence in the decaying old house testifies to the inefficiency and irresponsibility of their class. The social order itself is reversed, and nannies rule over the house. They do not understand their own civilization, and by their futile and unintelligent practices they add to the existing confusion in Africa.
Whether one turns to life in the country or in the hectic atmosphere of London, or to the adventurous existence of war correspondents in exotic places, one faces the same inconsequent and senseless game. During a visit to London Uncle Theodore quotes his favourite line; it is echoed by William in Ishmaelia: The quality of the dialogue, the terseness of the narrative, the pointed-ness and detachment with which characteristic attitudes are emphasized make them self-revealing, the source of their own ridicule.
Waugh draws facts from his own experience; a parallel could easily be drawn between adventures told in his travel books and occurrences in his pre-war novels. Imagination mainly serves his comic purpose and his skill in bringing to light the funny side of things. Critics have discerned in it a new seriousness and concern for English society.
Actually, Waugh deals with the same aspects of modern life: His satire becomes more biting and full of grating irony. He is utterly unaware of the harsh facts of life and of evil in the world. He is romantically attached to his Gothic house, Hetton Abbey, the symbol in his eyes of all that is valuable in English life: However, immaturity is more harmful at thirty than at twenty, the more so as Tony does not live among irresponsible young fools but among callous and merciless adults.
When Brenda takes a flat in London, where she can more easily meet the colourless and mediocre Beaver, Tony postpones the improvements he meant to order for Hetton. He patiently and loyally tolerates her interfering friends, all of them unscrupulous, ruthless and fashionable barbarians. When John Andrew, their son, is kicked by a horse and dies, Tony is primarily concerned for Brenda and even finds an excuse for her leaving him on the day after the funeral to spend the week-end with Beaver.
John Andrew meant everything to him, not only because he was his son, but because he was his only descendant, a gentleman, who would own Hetton and perpetuate its traditions. When he is killed, Tony carefully avoids thinking about his loss and conceals what feelings he may experience behind an exaggerated thoughtfulness towards other people.
He only betrays some emotion in the presence of Mrs. Rattery, because she is a perfect stranger to him. Nothing supports him in his trial. His regular attendance at church is not in any sense the expression of his faith.
It was very painful… after all the last thing one wants to talk about at a time like this is religion. Todd that he has never considered whether he believes in God. When Brenda arrives from London after the accident, they behave like perfect strangers: Brenda took off her hat and threw it down on a chair in the hall. Brenda is strikingly composed and cold, but Tony is emotionally sterile and fails by his exaggerate considerateness to provoke in his wife the revulsion of feeling which might be expected after such a catastrophe.
The heartless Polly Cockpurse proves right when she says: She is simply bored, irresponsible and selfish. Moreover, in the Mayfair world with which she is still vaguely connected through her weekly visits to London adultery is as natural a pastime as gossip or shopping.
She is not deterred by his indifference or his acquisitiveness. She sat down on a little Empire chair against the wall, perfectly still with her hands folded on her lap, like a small well-brought up child introduced into a room full of grown-ups.
Why do you know about it first? John was going hunting to-day. Her attitude after the death of John Andrew suddenly makes significant the process of disintegration that has been taking place in the family. When she next sees Beaver, she tells him: He is clearly unwilling to face the issue and to admit that his beautifully ordered world has collapsed.
When Brenda makes the situation clear to him, he agrees to take on the blame in the divorce case as befits a gentleman.
Private detectives follow him to a Brighton hotel, where he is supposed to spend the week-end with a hired girl and her terrible child.
Tony becomes aware of the mixture of ignominy and farce in the occasion; only then does he realize to what extent his life has stumbled into chaos: A whole Gothic world had come to grief … there was now no armour glittering through the forest glades, no embroi. Characteristically, he postpones the solution to their conflict and runs away from it, hoping to recapture some of the romantic idealism of his earlier existence. He sets out for Brazil with a Dr. Messinger in search of a city, the symbol of his humanistic dream: Firbank crossed established boundaries of taste: Cardinal Pirelli begins with the eponymous Prince of the Church baptising a dog and ends with him, stark naked, chasing a choirboy around his cathedral and dying of a heart attack.
The most valuable rare books Waugh jokes often offensively to modern tastes about things the British literary world simply did not acknowledge except in the margins inhabited by those such as Firbank, a high priest of high camp.
Anyone who understands the moral condition of England under George V would know the white slave trade was not something to joke about: To make light of it would be a little like laughing at the disabled.
There are gags about paedophilia too — the appalling Captain Grimes, another of the highly unsuitable masters whom Pennyfeather, the hero, encounters when teaching, counts child abuse among his portfolio of repulsive practices — and others about the mentally ill and various social classes. Then there is the racism: