Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pop Quiz III

1) What book is this from? Lord of the World

2) Who wrote it? Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson

3) When? 1907

The full text of which can be found here.
Then without the slightest warning, except one shrill hoot from
overhead, a number of things happened.

A great shadow whirled across the sunlight at her feet, a sound of
rending tore the air, and a noise like a giant's sigh; and, as she
stopped bewildered, with a noise like ten thousand smashed kettles, a
huge thing crashed on the rubber pavement before her, where it lay,
filling half the square, writhing long wings on its upper side that beat
and whirled like the flappers of some ghastly extinct monster, pouring
out human screams, and beginning almost instantly to crawl with broken

Mabel scarcely knew what happened next; but she found herself a moment
later forced forward by some violent pressure from behind, till she
stood shaking from head to foot, with some kind of smashed body of a man
moaning and stretching at her feet. There was a sort of articulate
language coming from it; she caught distinctly the names of Jesus and
Mary; then a voice hissed suddenly in her ears:

"Let me through. I am a priest."

She stood there a moment longer, dazed by the suddenness of the whole
affair, and watched almost unintelligently the grey-haired young priest
on his knees, with his coat torn open, and a crucifix out; she saw him
bend close, wave his hand in a swift sign, and heard a murmur of a
language she did not know. Then he was up again, holding the crucifix
before him, and she saw him begin to move forward into the midst of the
red-flooded pavement, looking this way and that as if for a signal. Down
the steps of the great hospital on her right came figures running now,
hatless, each carrying what looked like an old-fashioned camera. She
knew what those men were, and her heart leaped in relief.

They were the ministers of euthanasia.


Zach said...

Ha! I know this! But I'll let other readers work on it for a bit ...


Anonymous said...

"Lord of the World" by Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson.

Unlike Zach, I have little concern about waiting for the unwashed masses to comment. ;-)

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Gosh! Fr. Hairtonic! I'm so glad you're still reading. And flattered that you've kept your Officially Sanctioned Orwell's Picnic Nickname.

Good guess.

but we still don't have a date for this amazingly prescient bit of Catholic apocalyptic literature.

Zach said...

1907. Four years earlier than my half-remembered guess. :)


DP said...

I recommend adding "A Canticle for Leibowitz" to your shelf as well, if you haven't already. The last third of the book is eerily priescent.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes, I first read it when I was about sixteen. It was the first time I ever heard a thoughtful presentation of the Catholic argument against euthanasia. I was impressed at the time. It may have been an early contributor to my later conversion in these matters in general, and possibly to the Faith overall.

It also has a very memorable opening, describing "a wriggling iota", appearing far off in the desert heat that resolves into a mysterious old pilgrim.

I always like the expression 'wriggling iota'.