Work Suspended

(From ‘Work Suspended’ and other stories written before the second world war, Evelyn Waugh, 1948 (revised edition).)

“For the civilized man there are none of those swift transitions of joy and pain which possess the savage; words form slowly like pus about his hurts; there are no clean wounds for him; first a numbness, then a long festering, then a scar ever ready to re-open. Not until they have assumed the livery of the defence can his emotions pass through the lines; sometimes they come massed in a wooden horse, sometimes as single spies, but there is always a Fifth Column among the garrison ready to receive them. Sabotage behind the lines, a blind raised and lowered at a lighted window, a wire cut, a bolt loosened, a file disordered — that is how the civilized man is undone.” — ‘Work Suspended Part I: A Death’ (1941), p.166

Left with a feeling of doubt, a lack of conviction, yet certainly seeing the importance of not ignoring what’s important. Hoping life (mine) doesn’t amount to “a heap of neglected foolscap at the back of a drawer.”