by Virginia Woolf
Orlando Life, Creation, and Existence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Thus, those who like symbols, and have a turn for the deciphering of them, might observe that though the shapely legs, the handsome body, and the well-set shoulders were all of them decorated with various tints of heraldic light, Orlando's face, as he threw the window open, was lit solely by the sun itself. A more candid, sullen face it would be impossible to find. Happy the mother who bears, happier still the biographer who records the life of such a one! Never need she vex herself, nor he invoke the help of novelist or poet. From deed to deed, from glory to glory, from office to office he must go, his scribe following after, till they reach whatever seat it may be that is the height of their desire. Orlando, to look at, was cut out precisely for some such career. (1.2)
This passage serves to justify the choice of Orlando as a subject for the biography. His life will be full of great deeds, the biographer tells us.
Certain it is that he had always a liking for low company, especially for that of lettered people whose wits so often keep them under, as if there were the sympathy of blood between them. At this season of his life, when his head brimmed with rhymes and he never went to bed without striking off some conceit, the cheek of an innkeeper's daughter seemed fresher and the wit of a gamekeeper's niece seemed quicker than those of the ladies at Court. (1.18)
This is the first mention of Orlando’s frequent switching between the social elite and the common people. The phrase "this season of his life" particularly supports this argument as various successive seasons of his life show different preferences.
Then suddenly, Orlando would fall into one of his moods of melancholy; the sight of the old woman hobbling over the ice might be the cause of it, or nothing; and would fling himself face downwards on the ice and look into the frozen waters and think of death. For the philosopher is right who says that nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy; and he goes on to opine that one is twin fellow to the other […]
'All ends in death,' Orlando would say, sitting upright, his face clouded with gloom. (1.37 - 1.38)
Despite his love for Sasha and happiness with her, Orlando is still prone to morbid, depressing thoughts.