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From Beatrice Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape with Figures (see here for the previous entry from the series):

” I suppose the influx of summer people won’t start until school closes. Walking over to the village to arrange for a post office box, I was amused by the facial expressions on the vacant cottages. A few with curtains taken down but window shades left up stared at me with a glazed look like persons who are pretending to listen to you but have long since lost interest. Some with their shades not quite drawn all the way had a shy, modest look – unless the roof was bent in a scowl, in which case they looked suspicious or threatening. A couple of the oldest ones with Gothic windows gazed at me questioningly with raised eyebrows. Another, with two level bow windows, appeared to be suffering from exophthalmic goitre. Those with their shutters closed were obviously sound asleep.

The village itself still has an appealing tucked-away-in-a-corner (or another era) look: the post office and the library cheek by jowl in what was originally a private house, the small market and general store. And here and there among the more modest houses, a few lovely, gracious old mansions built by seafaring men, all well kept up and looking lived in, as they are.

It’s good to know there are human beings within walking distance, but for the time being I appreciate the solitude. I still feel a little guilty, though, at being here – as if I had turned my back with an indifferent shrug on all the suffering and violence in the world instead of doing something about it. However, until I know where to apply my one small icebag to cool the raging fever, or my one band-aid to stanch the blood, perhaps it’s better to keep out of other’s way. I try, at least, to justify myself by something C. S. Lewis wrote in his Letters to an American Lady to the effect that zealous concern for others is sometimes only a case of the fidgets or of patting oneself on the back.”

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