Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Boreham on the Isolation of Broken Relationships

F W Boreham, in writing about rifts and the way they are so damaging and isolating, includes this story:

Robert Louis Stevenson tells a famous story of two maiden sisters in the Edinburgh of long ago. 'This pair,' he tells us, 'inhabited a single room. From the facts, it must have been double-bedded; and it may have been of some dimensions; but, when all is said, it was a single room. Here our two spinsters fell out—on some point of controversial divinity belike; but fell out so bitterly that there was never a word spoken between them, black or white, from that day forward.

You would have thought that they would separate; but no, whether from lack of means, or the Scottish fear of scandal, they continued to keep house together where they were. A chalk line drawn upon the floor separated their two domains; it bisected the doorway and the fireplace, so that each could go out and in, and do her cooking, without violating the territory of the other. So, for years, they co-existed in a hateful silence; their meals, their ablutions, their friendly visitors, exposed to an unfriendly scrutiny; and at night, in the dark watches, each could hear the breathing of her enemy. Never did four walls look down upon an uglier spectacle than these sisters rivalling in unsisterliness.'

F W Boreham, ‘Our Desert Islands’, The Luggage of Life (London: Charles H Kelly, 1912), 13-14.

Image: Woman on the warpath.