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The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

Jakobi, Paula
The lecture: a story,   pp. 254-257 PDF (1.1 MB)

Page 255

   They do not look it, but they are strong-these doughty Amazons
of the morning I
   Elbows and heels serve them in good stead.
   And yet no rich furs are torn, no pearls wrested from delicate
   No one is killed in the shuffle.
   They sit shoulder to shoulder.
   The sleek, well fed, well groomed, well brushed, well powdered.
   One woman with punctual husband, adoring children, perfectly
trained servants, well ordered home.
   She is asking herself: "Why did I come this morning?
   Is not my home complete? Why go beyond it?"
   And the pretty, plump, soft-eyed, well dressed daughter of the
 house with her well dressed chum.
   They giggle and whisper low in the darkened theater.
   No one can imagine what they whisper and giggle about.
   And the old, old woman with carefully arranged massaged face
 and carefully adjusted marcelled wig.
   With priceless jewels playing like castanettes on shrivelled fingers.
   With a thousand hidden pains of age.
   Morbidly introspective she asks herself:
   "Why cannot I buy a cessation of time's whirl?
   Why cannot I set the wheels in the opposite direction?
   If only hope and expectation and warmth of life could be minel
   Instead of cold isolation. Isolation through fatigue, sickness,
 ugliness, death !
    But I must escape myself. The lecture will help me to forget."
    And next, one who looks as discreet as her sisters, perhaps more
    There is nothing bizarre in her attire.
    Who would know that she is ostracized from society?
    Then what draws her here?
    Only a desire to get in touch with things as they were long ago.
    To sit next to the kind that were her kind then.
    To get away from scents and sounds grown hideously distasteful.
    To hear words with another meaning than the language spoken
 around her.
    This language so different it is almost foreign to her.
    The young woman with heart throbbing fast, big with child, big
 with hope.

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