Living in Sin

There is a wonderful section in the Brideshead Revisited where one of the characters is confronted openly with the fact that she is living in sin with a man not her husband. Waugh masterfully portrays the effect of prolonged sin:

     "'Living in sin'; not just doing wrong, as I did when I went to America; doing wrong, knowing it was wrong, stopping doing it, forgetting. Thats not what they mean. That's not Bridey's pennyworth. He means just what it says in black and white.
     "Living in sin, with sin, by sin, for sin, every hour, every day, year in, year out. Waking up with sin in the morning, seeing the curtains drawn on sin, bathing it, dressing it, clipping diamonds to it, feeding it, showing it round, giving it a good time, putting it to sleep at night with a tablet of Dial if it's fretful.
     "Always the same, like an idiot child carefully nursed, guarded from the world. 'Poor Julia,' they say, 'she can't go out. She's got to take care of her little sin. A pity it ever lived,' they say, 'but it's so strong. Children like that always are. Julia's so good to her little, mad sin..."
     "Past and future; the years when I was trying to be a good wife, in the cigar smoke, while time crept on and the counters clicked on the backgammon board, and the man who was 'dummy' at the men's table filled the glasses; when I was trying to bear his child, torn in pieces by something already dead; putting him away, forgetting him, finding you, the past two years with you, all the future with you, all the future with or without you, war coming, world ending--sin."

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