Marian Maudsley Quotes in The Go-Between
If my twelve-year-old self, of whom I had grown rather fond, thinking about him, were to reproach me: “Why have you grown up such a dull dog, when I gave you such a good start? Why have you spent your time in dusty libraries, cataloguing other people’s books instead of writing your own? What has become of the Ram, the Bull, and the Lion, the example I gave you to emulate? Where above all is the Virgin, with her shining face and long curling tresses, whom I entrusted to you”—what should I say?
I should have an answer ready. “Well, it was you who let me down, and I will tell you how. You flew too near to the sun, and you were scorched. This cindery creature is what you made me.
My spiritual transformation took place in Norwich: it was there that, like an emerging butterfly, I was first conscious of my wings. I had to wait until tea for the public acknowledgement of my apotheosis. My appearance was greeted with cries of acclaim, as if the whole party had been living for this moment. Instead of gas-jets, fountains of water seemed to spring up around me. I was made to stand on a chair and revolve like a planet, while everything of my new outfit that was visible was subjected to admiring or facetious comment.
My world of high intense emotions collapsing around me, released not only the mental strain but the very high physical pressure under which I had been living. My only defence was, I could not have expected it of Marian. Marian who had done so much for me, Marian who knew how a boy felt, Marian the Virgin of the Zodiac—how could she have sunk so low?
She was a fairy princess who had taken a fancy to a little boy, clothed him, petted him, turned him from a laughing stock into an accepted member of her society, from an ugly duckling into a swan. With one wave of her wand she hasd transformed him, at the cricket concert, from the youngest and most insignificant person present to a spell-bounder who had held them all in thrall. The transfigured Leo of the last twenty-four hours was her creation; and she had created him, I felt, because she loved him. And now, again like an enchantress, she had taken it all away and I was back where I had started from—no, much lower.
“Green, green mon pauvre imbécile, bright green...et savez-vous pourquoi? Parce que vous êtes vert vous-même—you are green yourself, as the poor old English say…it is your true colour, Marian said so.” And he began to dance around me, chanting “Green, green, green.”
Lady-killer: what did that mean? I didn’t like to ask too many questions. I did not think, however, Ted would kill Marian: Man-killer, that was what I had been afraid of. Now the fear had passed away, lost its reality with the rest of my life at Brandham Hall. I could scarcely believe that I had once felt I ought to warn Lord Trimingham of his peril. The ninth Viscount would never know that I had saved him from the fate of the fifth. By removing myself I had removed the danger: it was my master-stroke.
“Marian, why don’t you marry Ted?”
It was only for a moment, but in that moment her face reflected all the misery she had been going through; it was a heart’s history in a look. ‘I couldn’t, I couldn’t!” She wailed. “Can’t you see why?”
I thought I did and since so many barriers between us were being overturned I added—it seemed only logical:
“But why are you going to marry Hugh if you don’t want to?”
“Because I must marry him,” she said. “You wouldn’t understand. I must. I’ve got to!” Her lips trembled and she burst into tears.
But what spell could I employ to break the spell that Ted had cast on Marian?
I had no knowledge of Black Magic and relied on the inspiration of the moment. If while concocting the spell I could excite myself and frighten myself, I felt it had a better chance of success. If also I had the sense of something giving way, inside me and outside, that was still better…but those were spells whose operation was confined to the world of my experience, the schoolboy world. I had never launched a spell against a grown-up person. My present victims were not only grown-ups, they belonged to the world from which my spells derived their power; I should be trying to turn their own weapons against them.
“No, you shall come,” she said, and seized my hand, and it was then we saw them, together on the ground, the Virgin and the Water-Carrier, two bodies moving like one. I think I was more mystified than horrified; it was Mrs. Maudsley’s repeated screams that frightened me, and a shadow on the wall that opened and closed like an umbrella.
Tell him this, Leo, make him see it and feel it, it will be the best day’s work you ever did. Remember how you loved taking our messages, bringing us together and making us happy—well, this is another errand of love, and the last time I shall ever ask you to be our postman…Tell him there’s no spell or curse except an unloving heart.