Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Changes and Disappointments

A note from Lewis's diary from Tuesday, May 22, 1923. Lewis was just finishing a very difficult time in his young life, where he had been working day and night to finish his English schools at Oxford (work normally accomplished in a three-year time span he was attempting to complete in nine months) and caring for the mentally ill brother of Mrs. Moore, Dr. John Askins. After sleepless nights spent caring for the raving, screaming patient, Lewis was attempting to find a permanent work situation to ease their financial woes, and they had to move house to boot:

After my last entry there followed a period so busy and on the whole so miserable that I had neither time nor heart to continue my diary, nor poetry, nor pleasant effort of any sort.

Our move to "Hillsboro" was carried out according to plan: but our friend Tolley (whom we had to turn off) had left so much undone and so much to undo that we had to put off the arrival of the furniture for a fortnight. The interval of "camping"--helped by a spell of delightful weather--was not so uncomfortable as I expected and we sat down so seldom that the scarcity of furniture, borrowed from Miss Featherstone, was hardly noticed. The garden was a great joy and there were some pleasant moments when we saw our chosen wall papers going up[...]

We naturally hoped more and more intensely every day that we should get the Exeter Fellowship: but Carritt told me just before I sent my papers in that Joseph of New College said it was a dud election--they had a candidate of their own already picked out for it. This disappointment threw me into a very childish rage against the old men and I believe I really understood how the Queen Anne satirists used to feel. I have now got over it...

Warnie was here for the Whitsun week end and departed yesterday: this time I thoroughly enjoyed his visit, although it has unsettled me with acute envy of the comfortable, care free, pleasant life by which he has solved the problem of existence: vobis parta quies*. I think I have the curse of something of my father's luck and temperament and shall be in a fidget as long as I am above ground.
~C.S. Lewis, All My Road Before Me (edited by Walter Hooper, 1991)

*from the Aeneid: "You [Andromache and Helenas, survivors from the sack of Troy] have won your rest [unlike me, Aeneas, who has to sail to Italy]."


On this day:

1930 Lewis, his brother Warren, Mrs. Janie Moore, her daughter Maureen, and Mr. Papworth the dog move into their new home, The Kilns, near Oxford. This will be Lewis's home until his death 32 years later. (A Year with C.S. Lewis)

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