My copy of Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf is old and the pages have yellowed. It has been many years since I studied it in school, but each year when June rolls around again, I am reminded of this passage:
“She stiffened a little on the curb, waiting for Durtnall’s van to pass. A charming woman, Scrope Purvis thought her (knowing her as one does know people who live next store to one in Westminster) ; a touch of the bird about her, of the jay, blue green, light, vivacious, though she was over fifty, and grown very white since her illness. There she perched, never seeing him, waiting to cross, very upright.
For having lived in Westminster- how many years now? over twenty,-one feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a suspense (but that might be her heart, affected they said by influenza) before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning; musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria street. For heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating every moment afresh; but the veriest of frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can’t be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment in June.”