Wednesday, January 25, 2006

KSRK: Guilty?/Not Guilty? (April 2 through April 5, Morning)

Just when I thought that we’d turned a corner in our understanding of the diary, the first several entries for April turn out to be among the most difficult yet. And in fact, April 2, after the ritual mention of ‘A year ago today’ seems for Quidam to be a kind of reckoning point. The scene is set in the first paragraph from the morning entry:
It was either the first or the second of this month that I decided to check on where we were. I arranged an occasion and posed a situational question to give her the chance to express her feelings. What happens? In the most candid way of the world, indeed, with an unbecoming intensity bordering on bad temper, she declares that she does not care for me at all, that she had accepted me out of sympathy and could not at all understand what I wanted with her.
It’s hard to know what to make of this, given his midnight stalking, his trip to the countryside, and his constant efforts at deceiving her with regard to the most difficult aspect of his personality. Maybe ‘protecting’ is a more suitable description than ‘deceiving’, but whatever it is it can be described as psychologically convoluted in the extreme. I think this is what gives him the patience to wait and see whether she “is in earnest or not.”

It would be helpful to work out the chronology of all the significant days and events in their engagement, because I’m still not sure about the order in which some of these things took place.

The beginning of the April 2 midnight entry does not bode well: “What if she actually became insane!” He follows this question by first stating again his plan to “exit as a scoundrel”, and then explores two different ways in which a “feminine psychology” can become insane. One is a “sudden change”, and another is a “secret passion”, and since he considers the second route is a more likely possibility, he also expands upon this eventuality with his own reflections on the power of reflection and the feminine mind. Basically, I think, it amounts to the idea that a little girl can’t drive a rig that big, and she will naturally prefer to drive the cute little sports car Daddy gave her for her sixteenth birthday. Or something like that. Comparing the two of them in terms of the capacity for reflection, Quidam writes:
“I myself have suffered enough under this and still suffer; one can suck poison out of another person and oneself die – in order to divest another person of reflection one can become all too reflective.”
There are also further reflections on the relationship between the comic and the tragic, leading to one of those precise statements that seems like a break in a storm.
I suppose it would be one of the most terrible collisions, perhaps the most horrible, if one wre to imagine that concern for a person made it necessary for an apostle to talk in ambiguous terms and in a light chatty tone about the truth of Christianity.
Apparently a light, chatty tone isn’t the problem with his beloved, for he once again refers to a murder she placed on his conscience. I think it would be helpful to work out the chronology of the major days and events in their relationship, as I’m still not sure when exactly this charge of murder was made. I thought it was when he broke off the engagement, but the sentence here seems to indicate that it was made some time during their engagement. Or perhaps he’s treating her outbursts as a prelude to that final charge.

In the April 5th morning entry, Quidam states that
“today I received the declaration and the last will and testament witnessed to and confirmed by – my little confirmand, for this is precisely the impression she makes on me, such a little miss.”
And yet at the end of the entry he writes, “She must know, of course, that she has just as much power as I, and a person who has the power does not act that way.”

Does she have as much power? It’s hard to say, since all we have is Quidam’s version, but even according to his account it doesn’t make sense. His references to her relatively feeble femininity, naming her ‘little miss,’ and his own refusal to be crushed by anything except ‘the religious’ would seem to indicate that he does not believe she does has much power as him. Or so it seems to me. And it still isn’t clear to me what sort of resolution Quidam was looking for at the end of last month. It certainly wasn’t her last will and testament.


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