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Unformatted text preview: Your patient, properly handled, will have no difficulty in regarding his emotion at the sight of
human entrails as a revelation of Reality and his emotion at the sight of happy children or fair weather as mere
Your affectionate uncle
http://members.fortunecity.com/phantom1/books2/c._s._lewis_-_the_screwtape_letters.htm 2/07/2008 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Page 33 of 34 MY DEAR, MY VERY DEAR, WORMWOOD, MY POPPET, MY PIGSNIE,
How mistakenly now that all is lost you come whimpering to ask me whether the terms of affection in which I address
you meant nothing from the beginning. Far from it! Rest assured, my love for you and your love for me are as like as
two peas. I have always desired you, as you (pitiful fool) desired me. The difference is that I am the stronger. I think
they will give you to me now; or a bit of you. Love you? Why, yes. As dainty a morsel as ever I grew fat on.
You have let a soul slip through your fingers. The howl of sharpened famine for that loss re-echoes at this moment
through all the levels of the Kingdom of Noise down to the very Throne itself. It makes me mad to think of it. How well
I know what happened at the instant when they snatched him from you! There was a sudden clearing of his eyes (was
there not?) as he saw you for the first time, and recognised the part you had had in him and knew that you had it no
longer. Just think (and let it be the beginning of your agony) what he felt at that moment; as if a scab had fallen from an
old sore, as if he were emerging from a hideous, shell-like tetter, as if he shuffled off for good and all a defiled, wet,
clinging garment. By Hell, it is misery enough to see them in their mortal days taking off dirtied and uncomfortable
clothes and splashing in hot water and giving little grunts of pleasure—stretching their eased limbs. What, then, of this
final stripping, this complete cleansing?
The more one thinks about it, the worse it becomes. He got through so easily! No gradual misgivings, no doctor's
sentence, no nursing home, no operating theatre, no false hopes of life; sheer, instantaneous liberation. One moment it
seemed to be all our world; the scream of bombs, the fall of houses, the stink and taste of high explosive on the lips and
in the lungs, the feet burning with weariness, the heart cold with horrors, the brain reeling, the legs aching; next
moment all this was gone, gone like a bad dream, never again to be of any account. Defeated, out-manœuvred fool! Did
you mark how naturally—as if he'd been born for it—the earthborn vermin entered the new life? How all his doubts
became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous? I know what the creature was saying to itself! "Yes. Of course. It always
was like this. All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and worse and forcing you into a kind of bottleneck till, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! you were out of the narrows and all was
suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then
you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it?
As he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. You reeled back dizzy and blinded, more hurt by them than he
had ever been by bombs. The degradation of it!—that this thing of earth and slime could stand upright and converse
with spirits before whom you, a spirit, could only cower. Perhaps you had hoped that the awe and strangeness of it
would dash his joy. But that is the cursed thing; the gods are strange to mortal eyes, and yet they are not strange. He had
no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw
them he knew that he had always known them and realised what part each one of them had played at many an hour in
his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not "Who are you?" but "So
it was you all the time". All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends
about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure
experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered. Recognition made him free of their
company almost before the limbs of his corpse became quiet. Only you were left outside.
He saw not only The...
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- Spring '07