There are neurotics such and you and me and the guy in the back seat of the bus who keeps blowing his nose. And then there are the Great Neurotics. From all walks of life they come, these Great Neurotics, from history and fiction and the entertainment arts they emerge, marching together, out of step, absorbed in their own thoughts, and in the way the breeze plays through their hair.
Here is today’s entry in this dubious gallery:
The sister of Henry and William, and talented in her own right, Alice James remained an invalid for much of her life, although there did not seem to be much physically wrong with her. “Oh, woe, woe is me!” she wrote at one point. “I have not only stopped thinning but I am taking unto myself gross fat. All hopes of peace and rest are vanishing – nothing but the dreary snail-like climb up a little way, so as to be able to run down again! And then those doctors tell you that you will die or recover! But you don’t recover. I have been at these alternations since I was nineteen, and I am neither dead nor recovered.”