február 08, 2013

Pszichogeográfia VII. A flaneur, ha nő

Virginia Woolf az utcán

Az előző bejegyzésben érintettem, hogy a flaneur, a kedve szerint sétáló és megfigyelő városidegen városi személy száz éve még szigorúan férfi volt. Nagyon érdekes szociális rendszere volt az utcának! Nőnek ott helye nincs, csak ha kísérik. Idemásolok egy részt Virgina Woolf: The Years (Az évek) c. könyvének első fejezetéből, ami lenyűgöző képet fest arról, milyen volt egy nőnek végigmenni az utcán kicsit több, mint száz éve.

Itt az történik, hogy a kislány Rose, kiszökik otthonról, és elmegy édességet venni, a család tudta nélkül. Az utca egy veszélyes hely, főleg egy kislánynak, ezért Rose a képzeletében háborús csatatérré változtatja, ahol ő, mint férfi (!) katonatiszt titkos üzenetet visz nagy veszélyek közepette. Lenyűgöző, ahogy Woolf a gyermeki képzeletet leírja. Aztán találkozik az utcán Rose egy férfivel, aki fenyegetően viselkedik, és egyből megszűnik katonatiszt lenni: ismét egy kislány lesz, aki egyedül van az utcán, ami ugyanolyan veszélyes, mint a háború, csak kevésbé izgalmas.

Angolul van, magyarul nem találtam meg a neten. Köszönöm Séllei Nórának, hogy egy konferencián felolvasta ezt a részt.

Now the adventure has begun, Rose said to herself as she stole on tiptoe to the night nursery. Now she must provide herself with ammunition and provisions; she must steal Nurse’s latchkey; but where was it? Every night it was hidden in a new place for fear of burglars. It would be either under the handkerchief-case or in the little box where she kept her mother’s gold watch-chain. There it was. Now she had her pistol and her shot, she thought, taking her own purse from her own drawer, and enough provisions, she thought, as she hung her hat and coat over her arm, to last a fortnight.
She stole past the nursery, down the stairs. She listened intently as she passed the schoolroom door. She must be careful not to tread on a dry branch, or to let any twig crack under her, she told herself, as she went on tiptoe. Again she stopped and listened as she passed her mother’s bedroom door. All was silent. Then she stood for a moment on the landing, looking down into the hall. The dog was asleep on the mat; the coast was clear; the hall was empty. She heard voices murmuring in the drawing-room.
She turned the latch of the front door with extreme gentleness, and closed it with scarcely a click behind her. Until she was round the corner she crouched close to the wall so that nobody could see her. When she reached the corner under the laburnum tree she stood erect.
“I am Pargiter of Pargiter’s Horse,” she said, flourishing her hand, “riding to the rescue!”
She was riding by night on a desperate mission to a besieged garrison, she told herself. She had a secret message — she clenched her fist on her purse — to deliver to the General in person. All their lives depended upon it. The British flag was still flying on the central tower — Lamley’s shop was the central tower; the General was standing on the roof of Lamley’s shop with his telescope to his eye. All their lives depended upon her riding to them through the enemy’s country. Here she was galloping across the desert. She began to trot. It was growing dark. The street lamps were being lit. The lamplighter was poking his stick up into the little trap- door; the trees in the front gardens made a wavering network of shadow on the pavement; the pavement stretched before her broad and dark. Then there was the crossing; and then there was Lamley’s shop on the little island of shops opposite. She had only to cross the desert, to ford the river, and she was safe. Flourishing the arm that held the pistol, she clapped spurs to her horse and galloped down Melrose Avenue. As she ran past the pillar-box the figure of a man suddenly emerged under the gas lamp.
“The enemy!” Rose cried to herself. “The enemy! Bang!” she cried, pulling the trigger of her pistol and looking him full in the face as she passed him. It was a horrid face: white, peeled, pock- marked; he leered at her. He put out his arm as if to stop her. He almost caught her. She dashed past him. The game was over.
She was herself again, a little girl who had disobeyed her sister, in her house shoes, flying for safety to Lamley’s shop.

Fresh-faced Mrs Lamley was standing behind the counter folding up the newspapers. She was pondering among her twopenny watches, cards of tools, toy boats and boxes of cheap stationery something pleasant, it seemed; for she was smiling. Then Rose burst in. She looked up enquiringly.
“Hullo, Rosie!” she exclaimed. “What d’you want, my dear?”
She kept her hand on the pile of newspapers. Rose stood there panting. She had forgotten what she had come for.
“I want the box of ducks in the window,” Rose at last remembered.
Mrs Lamley waddled round to fetch it.
“Isn’t it rather late for a little girl like you to be out alone?” she asked, looking at her as if she knew she had come out in her house shoes, disobeying her sister.
“Good-night, my dear, and run along home,” she said, giving her the parcel. The child seemed to hesitate on the doorstep: she stood there staring at the toys under the hanging oil lamp; then out she went reluctantly.
I gave my message to the General in person, she said to herself as she stood outside on the pavement again. And this is the trophy, she said, grasping the box under her arm. I am returning in triumph with the head of the chief rebel, she told herself, as she surveyed the stretch of Melrose Avenue before her. I must set spurs to my horse and gallop. But the story no longer worked. Melrose Avenue remained Melrose Avenue. She looked down it. There was the long stretch of bare street in front of her. The trees were trembling their shadows over the pavement. The lamps stood at great distances apart, and there were pools of darkness between. She began to trot. Suddenly, as she passed the lamp-post, she saw the man again. He was leaning with his back against the lamp-post, and the light from the gas lamp flickered over his face. As she passed he sucked his lips in and out. He made a mewing noise. But he did not stretch his hands out at her; they were unbuttoning his clothes.
She fled past him. She thought that she heard him coming after her. She heard his feet padding on the pavement. Everything shook as she ran; pink and black spots danced before her eyes as she ran up the door-steps, fitted her key in the latch and opened the hall door. She did not care whether she made a noise or not. She hoped somebody would come out and speak to her. But nobody heard her. The hall was empty. The dog was asleep on the mat. Voices still murmured in the drawing-room.

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