CS Lewis is often quoted from Adventist pulpits and has written many things that continue to be helpful to the Christian world at large.
He wrote a number of books including “The Great Divorce” which included this delightful chapter on a woman who fits what I regard the epitome of narcissism.
Read, my red pill Adventist brothers and enjoy.
THIS CONVERSATION also we overheard.
“That is quite, quite out of the question,” said a female Ghost to one of the bright Women, “I should not dream of staying if I’m expected to meet Robert. I am ready to forgive him, of course. But anything more is quite impossible. How he comes to be here . . . but that is your affair.”
“But if you have forgiven him,” said the other, “surely—–.”
“I forgive him as a Christian,” said the Ghost. “But there are some things one can never forget.”
“But I don’t understand …” began the She-Spirit.
“Exactly,” said the Ghost with a little laugh. “You never did. You always thought Robert could do no wrong. I know. Please don’t interrupt for one moment. You haven’t the faintest conception of what I went through with your dear Robert. The ingratitude! It was I who made a man of him! Sacrificed my whole life to him! And what was my reward? Absolute, utter selfishness. No, butlisten. He was pottering along on about six hundred a year when I married him. And mark my words, Hilda, he’d have been in that position to the day of his death if it hadn’t been for me. It was I who had to drive him every step of the way. He hadn’t a spark of ambition. It was like trying to lift a sack of coal. I had to positively nag him to take on that extra work in the other department, though it was really the beginning of everything for him. The laziness of men! He said, if you please, he couldn’t work more than thirteen hours a day! As if I weren’t working far longer. For my day’s work wasn’t over when his was. I had to keep him going all evening, if you understand what I mean. If he’d had his way he’d have just sat in an armchair and sulked when dinner was over. It was I who had to draw him out of himself and brighten him up and make conversation. With no help from him, of course. Sometimes he didn’t even listen. As I said to him, I should have thought good manners, if nothing else … he seemed to have forgotten that I was a lady even if I had married him, and all the time I was working my fingers to the bone for him: and without the slightest appreciation. I used to spend simply hours arranging flowers to make that poky little house nice, and instead of thanking me, what do you think he said? Said he wished I wouldn’t fill up the writing desk with them when he wanted to use it: and there was a perfectly frightful fuss one evening because I’d spilled one of the vases over some papers of his.
It was all nonsense really, because they weren’t anything to do with his work. He had some silly idea of writing a book in those days … as if he could. I cured him of that in the end. “No, Hilda, you must listen to me. The trouble I went to, entertaining! Robert’s idea was that he’d just slink off by himself every now and then to see what he called his old friends . . . and leave me to amuse myself! But I knew from the first that those friends were doing him no good. ‘No, Robert,’ said I, ‘your friends are now mine. It is my duty to have them here, however tired I am and however little we can afford it.’ You’d have thought that would have been enough. But they did come for a bit. That is where I had to use a certain amount of tact. A woman who has her wits about her can always drop in a word here and there. I wanted Robert to see them against a different background.
They weren’t quite at their ease, somehow, in my drawing-room: nor at their best. I couldn’t help laughing sometimes. Of course Robert was uncomfortable while the treatment was going on, but it was all for his own good in the end. None of that set were friends of his any longer by the end of the first year.
“And then, he got the new job. A great step up. But what do you think? Instead of realising that we now had a chance to spread out a bit, all he said was ‘Well now, for God’s sake let’s have some peace.’ That nearly finished me. I nearly gave him up altogether: but I knew my duty. I have always done my duty. You can’t believe the work I had getting him to agree to a bigger house, and then finding a house. I wouldn’t have grudged it one scrap if only he’d taken it in the right spirit-if only he’d seen the fun of it all. If he’d been a different sort of man it would have been fun meeting him on the doorstep as he came back from the office and saying, ‘Come along, Bobs, no time for dinner to-night. I’ve just heard of a house out near Watford and I’ve got the keys and we can get there and back by one o’clock.’ But with him! It was perfect misery, Hilda. For by this time your wonderful Robert was turning into the sort of man who cares about nothing but food.
“Well, I got him into the new house at last. Yes, I know. It was a little more than we could really afford at the moment, but all sorts of things were opening out before him. And, of course, I began to entertain properly. No more of his sort of friends, thank you. I was doing it all for his sake. Every useful friend he ever made was due to me. Naturally, I had to dress well. They ought to have been the happiest years of both our lives. If they weren’t, he had no one but himself to thank. Oh, he was a maddening man, simply maddening! He just set himself to get old and silent and grumpy. Just sank into himself. He could have looked years younger if he’d taken the trouble. He needn’t have walked with a stoop-I’m sure I warned him about that often enough. He was the most miserable host. Whenever we gave a party everything rested on my shoulders: Robert was simply a wet blanket. As I said to him (and if I said it once, I said it a hundred times) he hadn’t always been like that. There had been a time when he took an interest in all sorts of things and had been quite ready to make friends. ‘What on earth is coming over you?’ I used to say. But now he just didn’t answer at all. He would sit staring at me with his great big eyes. (I came to hate a man with dark eyes) and-I know it now-just hating me. That was my reward. After all I’d done. Sheer wicked, senseless hatred: at the very moment when he was a richer man than he’d ever dreamed of being! As I used to say to him, ‘Robert, you’re simply letting yourself go to seed.’ The younger men who came to the house-it wasn’t my fault if they liked me better than rny old bear of a husband-used to laugh at him.
“I did my duty to the very end. I forced him to take exercise-that was really my chief reason for keeping a great Dane. I kept on giving parties. I took him for the most wonderful holidays. I saw that he didn’t drink too much. Even, when things became desperate, I encouraged him to take up his writing again. It couldn’t do any harm by then. How could I help it if he did have a nervous breakdown in the end? My conscience is clear. I’ve done my duty by him, if ever a woman has. So you see why it would be impossible to …
“And yet … I don’t know. I believe I have changed my mind. I’ll make them a fair offer, Hilda. I will not meet him, if it means just meeting him and no more. But if I’m given a free hand I’ll take charge of him again. I will take up my burden once more. But I must have a free hand. With all the time one would have here, I believe I could make something of him. Somewhere quite to ourselves. Wouldn’t that be a good plan? He’s not fit to be on his own. Put me in charge of him. He wants firm handling. I know him better than you do. What’s that? No, give him to me, do you hear? Don’t consult him: just give him to me. I’m his wife, aren’t I? I was only beginning. There’s lots, lots, lots of things I still want to do with him. No, listen, Hilda. Please, please! I’m so miserable. I must have someone to-to do things to. It’s simply frightful down there. No one minds about me at all. I can’t alter them. It’s dreadful to see them all sitting about and not be able to do anything with them. Give him back to me. Why should he have everything his own way? It’s no good for him. It isn’t right, it’s not fair. I want Robert. What right have you to keep him from me? I hate you. How can I pay him out if you won’t let me have him?”
The Ghost which had towered up like a dying candleflame snapped suddenly. A sour, dry smell lingered in the air for a moment and then there was no Ghost to be seen.