Knack of living miserably

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 08.59.14The lack of gaiety in Dalrymple’s childhood home

Dalrymple relates that his parents

had everything to make them happy, but instead they persisted in living as miserably as the Captain and his wife in Strindberg’s Dance of Death.

For the first 18 years of his life, Dalrymple did not hear his parents

address a single word to one another. When I went to a friend’s home where parents spoke to one another, I found it strange and even mildly disconcerting. Speech, in my opinion, was not for parents and was unnecessarily noisy or loud.

It was, he says,

almost as if they felt a duty to live in this fashion. Happiness for them would have been almost a betrayal, a manifestation of not living correctly.

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