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On Chesil Beach Pdf

This slip of a novel describes the wedding night of Edward and Florence, at a hotel overlooking Chesil Beach, in the summer of But what. On Chesil Beach by. Ian McEwan. 1st draft - 7th June Focus Features. 65 Bleecker Street. 3rd Floor. New York. NY Tel: +1 Fax: +1. PDF - On Chesil Beach. The year is Florence, the daughter of a successful businessman and an aloof Oxford academic, is a talented violinist. She dreams.

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There was no one in the hotel who would have wanted to stop them. They were adults at last, on holiday, free to do as they chose. But, for now, the times held them. Even when Edward and Florence were alone, a thousand unacknowledged rules still applied.

It was precisely because they were adults that they did not do childish things like walk away from a meal that others had taken pains to prepare.

It was dinnertime, after all. And being childlike was not yet honorable, or in fashion. Still, Edward was troubled by the call of the beach, and if he had known how to propose it, or justify it, he might have suggested going out straightaway. The ceiling, low enough already, appeared now nearer to his head, and closing in.

Rising from his plate, mingling with the sea breeze, was a clammy odor, like the breath of the family dog. Perhaps he was not quite as joyous as he kept telling himself he was. He felt a terrible pressure narrowing his thoughts, constraining his speech, and he was in acute physical discomfort—his trousers or underwear seemed to have shrunk.

All he wanted, all he could think of, was himself and Florence lying naked together on or in the bed next door, confronting at last that awesome experience which seemed as remote from daily life as a vision of religious ecstasy, or even death itself. The prospect—was it actually going to happen?

He was born too late in the century, in , to believe that he was abusing his body, that his sight would be impaired, or that God watched with stern incredulity as he bent daily to the task. Or even that everyone knew about it from his pale and inward look.

All the same, a certain ill-defined disgrace hung over his efforts, a sense of failure and waste, and, of course, loneliness. And pleasure was really an incidental benefit. The goal was release—from the urgent, thought-confining desire for what could not be immediately had. Not since he was twelve had he been so entirely chaste with himself. He wanted to be in top form for his bride. It was not easy, especially at night in bed, or in the mornings as he woke, or in the long afternoons, or in the hours before lunch, or after supper, in the hours before bed.

Now here they were at last, married and alone. Why did he not rise from his roast, cover her in kisses, and lead her toward the fourposter next door? It was not so simple. He had come to respect it, even revere it, mistaking it for a form of coyness, a conventional veil for a richly sexual nature—in all, part of the intricate depth of her personality, and proof of her quality.

He convinced himself that he preferred her this way. He did not spell it out for himself, but her reticence suited his own ignorance and lack of confidence; a more sensual and demanding woman, a wild woman, might have terrified him. Their courtship had been a pavane, a stately unfolding, bound by protocols never agreed upon or voiced but generally observed. Nothing was ever discussed—nor did they feel the lack of intimate talk.

These were matters beyond words, beyond definition. The language and practice of therapy, the currency of feelings diligently shared, mutually analyzed, were not yet in general circulation. While one heard of wealthier people going in for psychoanalysis, it was not customary to regard oneself in everyday terms as an enigma, as an exercise in narrative history, or as a problem waiting to be solved.

On Chesil Beach [DOWNLOAD]

Between Edward and Florence nothing happened quickly. Important advances, permissions wordlessly granted to extend what he was allowed to see or caress, were attained only gradually. The day in October when he first saw her naked breasts long preceded the day when he could touch them—December 19th. He kissed them in February, though not her nipples, which he had grazed with his lips once, in May. She allowed herself to advance across his body with even greater caution.

Sudden moves or radical suggestions on his part could undo months of good work. She became. She retreated from him somehow without letting him ever feel in doubt about her love. Then, at last, they were back on course: For less than fifteen seconds, in rising hope and ecstasy, he felt her through two layers of fabric.

As soon as she pulled away he knew he could bear it no more. He asked her to marry him. He could not have known what it cost her to put a hand—it was the back of her hand—in such a place. She loved him, she wanted to please him, but she had to overcome considerable distaste. It was an honest attempt—she may have been clever, but she was without guile. She kept that hand in place for as long as she could, until she felt a stirring and hardening beneath the gray flannel of his trousers.

She experienced a living thing, quite separate from her Edward—and she recoiled. Then he blurted out his proposal, and in the rush of emotion, the delight and hilarity and relief, the sudden embrace, she momentarily forgot her shock. And he was so astonished by his own decisiveness, as well as mentally cramped by unresolved desire, that he could have had little idea of the contradiction she began to live with from that day on, the secret affair between disgust and joy.

They were alone then, and theoretically free to do whatever they wanted, but they went on eating the dinner they had no appetite for. Along this stretch of coast, television reception was poor because of the hills just inland.

The older guests would be down there in the sitting room, taking the measure of the world with their nightcaps—the hotel had a good selection of single malts—and some of the men would be filling their pipes for one last time that day. Gathering around the wireless for the main bulletin was a wartime habit they would never break. Edward and Florence heard the muffled headlines and caught the name of the Prime Minister, and then, a minute or two later, his familiar voice, raised in a speech.

Harold Macmillan had been addressing a conference about the arms race and the need for a test-ban treaty.

PDF - On Chesil Beach

Who could disagree that it was folly to go on testing H-bombs in the atmosphere and irradiating the whole planet? But no one under thirty—certainly not Edward and Florence—believed that a British Prime Minister held much sway in global affairs.

Every year the Empire shrank as another few countries took their rightful independence. Now there was almost nothing left, and the world belonged to the Americans and the Russians. Britain, England, was a minor power—saying this gave a certain blasphemous pleasure. Downstairs, of course, they took a different view. Anyone over forty would have fought, or suffered, in the war and known death on an unusual scale, and would not have been able to believe that a drift into irrelevance was the reward for all the sacrifice.

Edward and Florence would be voting for the first time in the next general election and were keen on the idea of a Labour landslide as great as the famous victory of In a year or two, the older generation who still dreamed of the Empire must surely give way to politicians like Gaitskell, Wilson, Crosland—new men with a vision of a modern country where there was equality and things actually got done.

If America could have an exuberant and handsome President Kennedy, then Britain could have something similar—at least in spirit, for there was no one quite so glamorous in the Labour Party.

On Chesil Beach

The blimps, still fighting the last war, still nostalgic for its discipline and privations—their time was up. The sixties was their first decade of adult life, and it surely belonged to them. The pipe-smokers downstairs in their silver-buttoned blazers, with their double measures of Caol Ila, with their memories of campaigns in North Africa and Normandy, and their cultivated remnants of Army slang—they could have no claim on the future.

Time, gentlemen, please! The rising mist continued to unveil the nearby trees, the bare cliffs behind them, and portions of a silver sea, while the smooth evening air poured in around the table, and they continued their pretense of eating, trapped in the moment by their private anxieties.

Florence was merely moving the food around her plate. Edward ate only token morsels of potato, which he carved with the edge of his fork.

They listened helplessly to the second item of news, aware of how dull it was of them to be linking their attention to that of the guests downstairs. Their wedding night, and they had nothing to say. Florence and Edward listened to that, and then, intolerably, the third item as well, the concluding session of an Islamic conference in Baghdad.

Bound to world events by their own stupidity! It could not go on. It was time to act. Edward loosened his tie and firmly set down his knife and fork in parallel on his plate. He hoped he was being humorous, directing his sarcasm against them both, but his words emerged with surprising ferocity, and Florence blushed. To demonstrate how wrong he was, she was proposing what she knew he most wanted and she dreaded. She really would have been happier, or less unhappy, to go down to the lounge and pass the time in quiet conversation with the matrons on the floral-patterned sofas while their men leaned seriously into the news, into the gale of history.

Anything but this. Her husband was smiling and standing and ceremoniously extending his hand across the table. He, too, was a little pink about the face. His napkin clung to his waist for a moment, hanging absurdly, like a loincloth, and then wafted to the floor in slow motion.

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There was nothing she could do, beyond fainting, and she was hopeless at acting. She stood and took his hand, certain that her own returning smile was rigidly unconvincing. It would not have helped her to know that Edward in his dreamlike state had never seen her looking lovelier. Something about her arms, he remembered thinking later, slender and vulnerable, and soon to be looped adoringly around his neck.

And her beautiful dark eyes, bright with undeniable passion, and the faint trembling in her lower lip, which even now she wetted with her tongue. With his free hand he tried to gather up the wine bottle and the half-full glasses, but that was too difficult and distracting; the glasses bulged against each other, causing the stems to cross in his hands and the wine to spill. Instead he seized the bottle alone by the neck.

Even in his exalted, jittery condition, he thought he understood her customary reticence. All the more cause for joy, then, that they were facing this momentous occasion, this dividing line of experience, together. And the thrilling fact remained that it was Florence who had suggested lying on the bed.

Her changed status had set her free. Still holding her hand, he came around the table and drew near to kiss her. Believing it was vulgar to do so holding a wine bottle, he set it down again. She made herself remember how much she loved this man. He was kind, sensitive; he loved her and could do her no harm.

She shrugged herself deeper into his embrace, close against his chest, and inhaled his familiar scent, which had a woodsy quality and was reassuring. When they kissed she immediately felt his tongue, tensed and strong, pushing past her teeth, like some bully shouldering his way into a room.

Entering her. Her own tongue folded and recoiled in automatic distaste, making even more space for Edward. He knew well enough that she did not like this kind of kissing, and he had never before been so assertive.

With his lips clamped firmly onto hers, he probed the fleshy floor of her mouth, then moved around inside the teeth of her lower jaw to the empty place where three years ago a wisdom tooth had crookedly grown until removed under general anesthesia. This cavity was where her own tongue usually strayed when she was lost in thought. By association, it was more like an idea than a location, a private, imaginary place rather than a hollow in her gum, and it seemed peculiar to her that another tongue should be able to go there, too.

It was the hard tapering tip of this alien muscle, quiveringly alive, that repelled her. His left hand was pressed flat above her shoulder blades, just below her neck, levering her head against his.

Her claustrophobia and breathlessness grew, even as she became more determined that she could not bear to offend him. He was under her tongue, pushing it up against the roof of her mouth, then on top, pushing down, then sliding smoothly along the sides and around, as though he thought he could tie a simple up-and-over knot.

He wanted to engage her tongue in some activity of its own, coax it into a hideous mute duet, but she could only concentrate on not struggling, not gagging, not panicking. If she was sick into his mouth, was one wild thought, their marriage would be instantly over, and she would have to go home and explain herself to her parents.

She understood perfectly that this business with tongues, this penetration, was a small-scale enactment, a ritual tableau vivant of what was still to come, like the prologue of an old play that tells you everything that must happen.

She had agreed that it was right to do this, and to have this done to her. When she and Edward and their parents had filed back to the gloomy sacristy after the ceremony to sign the register, it was this that they had put their names to, and all the rest—the supposed maturity, the confetti and cake—was a polite distraction.

When he heard her moan, Edward knew that his happiness was almost complete. He had the impression of delightful weightlessness, of standing several inches clear of the ground, so that he towered pleasingly over her. There was pain-pleasure in the way his heart seemed to rise to thud at the base of his throat.

He was thrilled by the light touch of her hands, not so very far from his groin, and by the compliance of her lovely body enfolded in his arms, and the passionate sound of her breathing rapidly through her nostrils. It brought him to a point of unfamiliar ecstasy, cold and sharp, just below the ribs, the way her tongue gently enveloped his as he pushed against it.

Perhaps he could persuade her one day soon—perhaps this evening, and she might need no persuading—to take his cock into her soft and beautiful mouth. But that was a thought he needed to scramble away from as fast as he could, for he was in real danger of arriving too soon. He could feel it already beginning, tipping him toward disgrace. Just in time, he thought of the news, of the face of the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, tall, stooping, walruslike, a war hero, an old buffer—he was everything that was not sex, and ideal for the purpose.

Some cursed him for having given away the Empire, but there was no choice, really, with these winds of change blowing through Africa. No one would have taken that same message from a Labour man. Serious-minded people complained that he was burying the nation in an avalanche of TVs, cars, supermarkets, and other junk. He let the people have what they wanted. Bread and circuses. A new nation, and now he wanted us to join Europe, and who could say for sure that he was wrong?

Steadied at last.

She felt pinioned and smothered, she was suffocating, she was nauseated. And she could hear a sound, rising steadily, not in steps like a scale but in a slow glissando, not quite a violin or a voice but somewhere in between, rising and rising unbearably, without ever leaving the audible range, a violin-voice that was just on the edge of making sense, telling her something urgent in sibilants and vowels more primitive than words.

It might have been inside the room or out in the corridor, or only in her ears, like a tinnitus. She might even have been making the noise herself.

She did not care—she had to get out. She jerked her head away and pushed free of his arms. Even as he stared at her in surprise, still openmouthed, a question beginning to form in his expression, she seized his hand and led him toward the bed. See our User Agreement and Privacy Policy. See our Privacy Policy and User Agreement for details.

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