Elizabeth Taylor’s Gloomy Sundays

From Elizabeth Taylor’s “Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont”:

On Sundays – especially p.m. – Ludo was always depressed. Something lowering was in the air : at least three times during the day, for instance, the dreadful clanging doom of neighbourhood bells, the sauntering, church-people’s legs beyond the area railings. He squatted and squinted up at them, at the boring hats of the women going by – they were mostly women – and he was enraged with them for lowering his spirits. They did so to the extent that he could not workL and he could not go to work.

From somewhere – most certainly not from his mother – he had inherited a feeling that Sunday was a day of rest, and so he fretted through it, and always came to the end of it with a sense of wide ennui and wasted time.

1st_Chatto_and_Windus_edition_cover_of_Mrs._Palfrey_at_the_Claremont

From The Soul of Kindness:

It was a Sunday afternoon and she was lonely. He knew well that she reached her lowest level on Sundays, or did, rather, as soon as lunch was eaten and she had washed up, Then the day heeled over into a frightening sea of boredom. She floundered in it, letting herself, as the hours went by, sink dully under, with the sound of church bells in her ears.

Religious people were a vexation with their selfishness. They took one whole day out of seven – out of every seven – and put a curse on it for other people. Even abroad, even in non-Christian countries, Elinor had always known when that day came round. It carried its staleness with her wherever she went.

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