The Springs of Affection

Maeve Brennan

There was not only nothing nice, there was nothing definite at all to remember, only a great many years that had passed along and were now finished, leaving only the remnants of themselves herself, Hubert, the furniture; even the plants in the garden only seemed to hold their position in order to mark the shabbiness of time. All the things that she had collected together and arranged about the house could blow away, or fall into a pitiful heap, if it were not that the walls of the house were attached on both sides to the walls of the neighbouring houses.

Rose had not always been the same, but there was no one now to tell what she had been or to see her as she had been seen.

She found the world difficult, because, while she knew that life is precious and must be watched night and day or it will vanish without warning, she also knew that in the long run life is of no value at all, because it vanishes without warning.

Hubert saw her wrist and her elbow, and in that fragment of her he saw all of Rose.

When she got out of bed in the morning, she had not had a hint that she was seeing the beginning of a day that would never cease to unfold in her memory and that would always be waiting there, undimmed and undamaged, providing her with a place where her mind could rest and find courage.

And she, standing alone as always, had lived to sum them all up. It was a great satisfaction to see finality rising up like the sun. Min thought not many people knew that satisfaction. To watch' the end of all was not much different from watching the beginning of things, and if you weren't ever going to take part anyway, then to watch the end was far and away better.