Friday, 19 February 2010

One of Mária's favourites

And one that I think even better!

Mária Hári liked quoting snippets from Alice in Wonderland. Here is one that often got an airing (from Chapter six).

`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
`I don't much care where – ' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
`– so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'

Alice was lost, She had come to a fork in the road and asked the Cheshire Cat the way. Mária never, as far as I know, quoted what Alice and the Cat asked about next, though it does strike me as particularly apposite to the world of Conductive Education, then as now.

Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. `What sort of people live about here?'
`In THAT direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, `lives a Hatter: and in THAT direction,' waving the other paw, `lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.'
`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'

In fact, I think that it's even better. Now as then.

Well she might have quoted Lewis Carroll. Over her lifetime Hungary had been as surreal as anything that he had ever dreamed up (and a lot nastier). I do not know how much of Alice she knew, how much the Wonderland analogy helped sweeten the pill of her own often bitter and confusing life, or whether – and she was quite canny enough for this – such snippets were dragged out specially to lull and endear her British visitors.

There is an awful lot that we shall never know.

1 comment:

  1. "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely
    to be 'normal'."

    Albert Camus
    (1913-1960, French existential writer)