'Then...there is another danger which you can scarcely hope to escape. It is the weight of the past. Not only will you esteem material objects because they are old.... you will venerate ideas and institutions because they have remained for a long time in force;... You inherit your code ready made. That waxwork figure labelled Gentleman will be forever mopping and mowing at you. Thus you would never forget your manners, but you would break a heart, and think yourself a rather fine fellow for doing it... You will never tell lies - avoidable lies - but you will always be afraid of the truth. You will never wonder why you pursue it because it is a thing to do. And the past is to blame for all this; inheritance, tradition, upbringing; your nurse, your father, your tutor, your public school, Chevron, your ancestors.' Vita Sackville-West The Edwardians
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
I have started watching Downton Abbey and it made me think of how life would have been in a country home. As Knole is the one I know best, I thought of The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West. Then reading this passage it connected to our earlier one by Chinua Achebe and ancestors. We may cross so much more than centuries and continents but still ancestors journey with us.