They say you can tell a lot about a man (a woman too, of course) from the company he keeps, or from the books he reads. I’d like to propose a new criterion. What gives him pain—I mean spiritual pain?
I thought of it reading these lines from George Orwell’s diaries describing the “upper class voices” that oppressed him in a Cotswold sanitarium in 1949. (He died of tuberculosis not many months later.)
“A sort of over-fedness, a fatuous self-confidence, a sort of bah-bahing of laughter about nothing . . . people who, one instinctively feels, without even being able to see them, are the enemies of anything intelligent or sensitive or beautiful.”