Archive for the '53 Years Old' Category

Fifty-Three Year Old: Arthur Norris



Not many days after this, Arthur telephoned to tell me that Otto and Anni had made it up.

‘I felt sure you’d be glad to hear. I may say that I myself was to some extent instrumental in the good work. Yes. …Blessed are the peacemakers. …As a matter of fact, I was particularly interested in effecting a reconciliation just now, in view of a little anniversary which falls due next Wednesday. … You didn’t know? Yes, I shall be fifty-three. Thank you, dear boy. Thank you. I must confess I find it difficult to become accustomed to the thought that the yellow leaf is upon me. … And now, may I invite you to a trifling banquet? The fair sex will be represented. Besides the reunited pair, there will be madame Olga and two other of my more doubtful and charming acquaintances. I shall have the sitting-room carpet taken up, so that the younger members of the party can dance. Is that nice?’

‘Very nice indeed.’

On Wednesday evening I had to give an unexpected lesson and arrived at Arthur’s flat later than I intended. I found Hermann waiting downstairs at the house door to let me in.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I said. ‘I hope you haven’t been standing here long?’

‘It’s all right,’ Hermann answered briefly. He unlocked the door and led the way upstairs. What a dreary creature he is, I thought. He can’t even brighten up for a birthday party.

I discovered Arthur in the sitting-room. He was reclining on the sofa in his shirt-sleeves, his hands folded in his lap.

‘Here you are, William.’

‘Arthur, I’m most terribly sorry. I hurried as much as I could. I thought I should never get away. That old girl I told you about arrived unexpectedly and insisted on having a two-hour lesson. She merely wanted to tell me about the way her daughter had been behaving. I thought she’d never stop. … Why, what’s the matter? You don’t look well.’

Arthur sadly scratched his chin.

‘I’m very depressed, dear boy.’

 Christopher Isherwood, Mr Norris Changes Trains

Published in: 53 Years Old | on November 2nd, 2011 | No Comments »

Fifty-Three Year Old: Gertrude Morel



It seemed to Paul his mother looked lonely, in her new black silk blouse with its bit of white trimming.

‘At any rate, mother, I s’ll never marry,’ he said.

‘Ay, they all say that, my lad. You’ve not met the one yet. Only wait a year or two.’

‘But I shan’t marry, mother. I shall live with you, and we’ll have a servant.’

‘Ah, my lad, it’s easy to talk. We’ll see when the time comes.’

‘What time? I’m nearly twenty-three.’

‘Yes, you’re not one that would marry young. But in three years’ time –’

‘I shall be with you just the same.’

‘We’ll see, my boy, we’ll see.’

‘But you don’t want me to marry?’

‘I shouldn’t like to think of you going through your life without anybody to care for you and do – no.’

‘And you think I ought to marry?’

‘Sooner or later every man ought.’

‘But you’d rather it were later.’

‘It would be hard – and very hard. It’s as they say:


“A son’s my son till he takes a wife,

But my daughter’s my daughter the whole of her life.”’


‘And you’d think I’d let a wife take me from you?’

‘Well, you wouldn’t ask her to marry your mother as well as you,’ Mrs Morel smiled.

‘She could do what she liked; she wouldn’t have to interfere.’

‘She wouldn’t – till she’d got you – and then you’d see.’

‘I never will see. I’ll never marry while I’ve got you – I won’t.’

‘But I shouldn’t like to leave you with nobody, my boy,’ she cried.

‘You’re not going to leave me. What are you? Fifty-three! I’ll give you to seventy-five. There you are, I’m fat and forty-four. Then I’ll marry a staid body. See!’

His mother sat and laughed.

 D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

Published in: 53 Years Old | on November 2nd, 2011 | No Comments »