[Previously on Mrs. Dalloway On My Mind: Dr. Holmes and Sir William Bradshaw . . . so dense with ideology and command, these leaders of men and women, these wardens and jailers . . .]
. . . all mandate and chain and prescription undisputed, a life resigned to their designs, carried on the eternal sentencing of the living to the chambers of the marginalized and restrained. A living death suffused by warm milk and obedience; a regression to functional infancy, if there is such a thing, they promote it with fervor, crafting their society of restraints; their bread and butter, Dr. Holmes, Sir William Bradshaw, they swear by them, these chains and instructions; an undisputed way of life; prescriptions for the wealthy and unprivileged alike, no distinctions — everyone yields to the power of the physician so as not to meet the mortician — their clients fearful and afflicted, all too eager to exchange their freedom for a few more years of breathing, granting power to the almighty dispensaries — it’s for their own good health, or so say the brutes with a license to take over, assuming command of body and soul. A service gilded in gold, embroidered in brows stitched high and distempered across the grand tapestry of society, the fanfare altogether apparent when these brutes drive their carriages down the streets no matter the weather, rain or shine, there they are, saluting the crowds, dispensing treatments and sentences no one really understands but obeys anyway (the century’s new clergy mustn’t be doubted). Dr. Holmes, Sir William Bradshaw. Theirs is a presumptive and all-assuming profession borne of an all-assuming nature, castigatory, cold, an England thriving in the fumes of a post-War reality, a reality that rings true even to this day, in the age of shadow politics and shadow culture, our age, shadow everything — health, morality, integrity, economy, industry, all of them compromised, eclipsed, so dark the sky; so dense the air, the vision of the authorities; the world soaked in the fumes of a post-traumatic organization of life unlived, a living death experienced on the backdrop of progress; all of these realities on my mind even as I type this letter in the middle of a busy cafe in the middle of a bustling town in the middle of the evening on a cold Saturday in December (the Saturday before Christmas Eve), and I’m thinking, oh Goodness I’m thinking that a train of thought is a wonderful thing, even if it meanders into the distance with no route in mind, its gears grinding away, the sound trailing above the land as it’s swallowed by the trees and mountainsides and glorious season greetings that trace out the wilderness of merrymaking we call the Yuletide.
Mrs. Dalloway on my mind, dear Victor. I have her, fixedly. Won’t let her go, won’t let me go in turn.