“Some people think that it’s only possible to be happy if one makes noise,” she said, after a pause. “I find it’s too delicate and melancholy for noise. Being happy is rather melancholy—like the most beautiful landscape, like those trees and the grass and the clouds and the sunshine today.”
“From the outside,” said Gumbril, “it even looks rather dull.” They stumbled up the dark staircase to his rooms. Gumbril lit a pair of candles and put the kettle on the gas ring. They sat together on the divan sipping tea. In the rich, soft light of the candles she looked different, more beautiful. The silk of her dress seemed wonderfully rich and glossy, like the petals of a tulip, and on her face, on her bare arms and neck the light seemed to spread an impalpable bright bloom. On the wall behind them, their shadows ran up towards the ceiling, enormous and profoundly black.
“How unreal it is,” Gumbril whispered. “Not true. This remote secret room. These lights and shadows out of another time. And you out of nowhere and I, out of a past utterly remote from yours, sitting together here, together—and being happy. That’s the strangest thing of all. Being quite senselessly happy. It’s unreal, unreal.”
“But why,” said Emily, “why? It’s here and happening now. It is real.”
“It all might vanish, at any moment,” he said.
Emily smiled rather sadly. “It’ll vanish in due time,” she said. “Quite naturally, not by magic; it’ll vanish the way everything else vanishes and changes. But it’s here now.”
They gave themselves up to the enchantment. The candles burned, two shining eyes of flame, without a wink, minute after minute. But for them were no longer any minutes. Emily leaned against him, her body held in the crook of his arm, her head resting on his shoulder. He caressed his cheek against her hair; sometimes, very gently, he kissed her forehead or her closed eyes.
“If I had know you years ago . . .” she sighed. “But I was a silly little idiot then. I shouldn’t have notice any difference between you and anybody else.”
Aldous Huxley 1923