Someone knocked me down. I pushed Brinker over a small slope; someone was trying to tackle me from behind. Everywhere there was the smell of vitality in clothes, the vital something in wool and flannel and corduroy which spring releases…. It made me happy, but I kept wondering about next spring, about whether khaki, or suntan or whatever the uniform of the season was, had this aura of promise in it. I felt fairly sure it didn’t.
We ended the fight in the only way possible; all of us turned on Phineas. Slowly, with a steadily widening grin, he was driven down beneath a blizzard of snowballs.
“It’s Finny. You pity him…. Yes, pity him. And if you don’t watch out he’s going to start pitying himself. Nobody ever mentions his leg to him except me. Keep that up and he’ll be sloppy with self-pity any day now. What’s everybody beating around the bush for? He’s crippled and that’s that. He’s got to accept it and unless we start acting perfectly natural about it, even kid him about it once in a while, he never will.”
“I could see both of them clearly enough because the sun was blazing all around them… and the rays of the sun were shooting past time, millions of rays shooting past them like—like golden machine-gun fire…. That’s what it was like, if you want to know. The two of them looked as black as—as black as death standing up there with this fire burning all around them.”
“You get all your facts!” I had never seen Finny crying, “You collect every f—ing fact there is in the world!” He plunged out the doors. The excellent exterior acoustics recorded his rushing steps and the quick rapping of his cane along the corridor and on the first steps of the marble hallway. Then these separate sounds collided into the general tumult of his body falling clumsily down the white marble stairs.