29 May 2009

Damn your eyes

Minta, Andrew observed, was rather a good walker. She wore more sensible clothes than most women. She wore very short skirts and black knicker-bockers. She would jump straight into a stream and flounder across. He liked her rashness, but he saw that it would not do - she would kill herself in some idiotic way one of these days. She seemed to be afraid of nothing - except bulls. At the mere sight of a bull in a field she would throw up her arms and fly screaming, which was the very thing to enrage a bull of course. But she did not mind owning up to it in the least; one must admit that. She knew she was an awful coward about bulls, she said. She thought she must have been tossed in her perambulator when she was a baby. She didn't seem to mind what she said or did. Suddenly now she pitched down on the edge of the cliff and began to sing some song about

Damn your eyes, damn your eyes.

They all had to join in and sing the chorus, and shout out together:

Damn your eyes, damn your eyes.

but it would be fatal to let the tide come in and cover up all the good hunting-grounds before they got on to the beach.

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1973:86)