Walker Percy Wednesday 56

percycovercroppea

What do I think? The mystery of evil is the mystery of limited goodness.

 . . .

My eyes are almost swelled shut, breath whistles in my throat, but my heart is full of love. Love of what? Women. Which women? All women. The first night I ever spent on the acute ward, a madman looked at me and said, not knowing me from Adam: “You want to know your trouble? You don’t love God, you love pussy.

It might be true. Madmen like possessed men usually tell the truth.

. . .

I had been reading my usual late-night fare, Stedmann’s History of World War I. For weeks now I’ve been on the Battle of Verdun, which killed half a million men, lasted a year, and left the battle lines unchanged. Here began the hemorrhage and death by suicide of the old Western world: white Christian Caucasian Europeans, sentimental music-loving Germans and rational clear-minded Frenchmen, slaughtering each other without passion. “The men in the trenches did not hate each other,” wrote Stedmann. “As for the generals, they respected or contemned each other precisely as colleagues in the same profession.

. . .

(Hester is my type: post-Protestant, post-rebellion, post-ideology—reading Perry Mason here on a little ideological island!—reverted all the way she is, clear back to pagan innocence like a shepherd girl piping a tune on a Greek vase.)

. . .

Oh those lovely hollowed-out Holyoke vowels. Her voice is a Congregational bell.

. . .

“Are you telling me that with that thing you can actually register the knotheadedness of the Knotheads, the nutty objectivity of the scientists, and the mad spasms of the liberals?”

“That’s an odd way of putting it, but yes.”

“And you’re also telling me that you can treat ’em, fry ’em with your ray and make ’em human?”