The Beauty of Obedience

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“…she was in the sphere of Jove, amid light and music and festal pomp, brimmed with life and radiant health, jocund and clothed in shining garments… She saw from the windows of the train to the outlined beams of sunlight pouring over the stubble or burnished woods, she felt that they were like the notes of a trumpet. Her eyes rested on the rabbits and cows as they flitted by and she embraced them in heart with merry, holiday love. She delighted in the occasional speech of the one wizened old man who shared her compartment and saw, as never before, the beauty of his shrewd and sunny old mind, sweet as a nut and English as a chalk down. She reflected with surprise how long it was since music had played any part in her life, and was resolved to listen to many chorales by Bach on the gramophone that evening. Or else-perhaps-she would read a great many Shakespeare sonnets. She rejoiced also in her hunger and thirst and decided that she would make herself buttered toast for tea – a great deal of buttered toast. And she rejoiced in the consciousness of her own beauty; for she had the sensation – it may have been false in fact, but it had nothing to do with vanity – that it was growing and expanding like a magic flower with every minute that passed. In such a mood it was only natural, after the old man had got out at Cure Hardy, to stand up and look at herself in the mirror which confronted her on the wall of the compartment. Certainly, she was looking well: she was looking unusually well. And, once more, there was little vanity in this. For beauty was made for others. Her beauty belonged to the Director. It belonged to him so completely that he could even decide not to keep it for himself but to order that it be given to another, by an act of obedience lower, and therefore higher, more unconditional and therefore more delighting, than if he had demanded it for himself.”


C.S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength

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