I remember, I clearly remember my attitude when I was studying,
and I clearly remember all my classmates and which one was
to me an intelligent girl, which one a word mill
have some very amusing memories about that, because I couldn't
understand what meaning there was in learning in order to
seem to know (I had a tremendous memory at the time, but
didn't make use of it). And I liked only what I had understood.
in my life I took an exam (I forgot which one), but I was
just at the age limit, which means that I was too young
to sit at the time of the regular exam (I sat at that time
because it was autumn, and then I was old enough). And I
remember, we were a small group, the teachers were greatly
annoyed because their holidays had been cut short, and the
students were for the most part rather mediocre, or else
rebellious. There I was, observing all that (I was very
young, you understand, I don't remember, thirteen or fourteen),
watching the whole thing: a poor little girl had been called
to the blackboard to do a mathematical problem, and she
didn't know how to do it, she kept spluttering. Me (I wasn't
being questioned just then), I looked and smiledoh,
dear! The teacher saw me and was quite displeased. As soon
as the girl was sent back, he called me and said, "You
do it." Well, naturally (I loved mathematics very much,
really very much, and also I understood, it made sense),
I did the problemthe chap's face!
I wasn't in that [in the small outward person]: I was constantly
a witness. And I had the most extraordinary fun. So I know
the way children are, the way teachers are, I know all that,
I had great fun, really fun.
home, my brother was studying advanced mathematics (it was to
enter Polytechnic), and he found it difficult, so my mother had
engaged a tutor to coach him. I was two years younger than my
brother. I used to look on, and everything would became clear:
the why, the how, it was all clear. So the teacher was working
hard, my brother was working hard, when I exclaimed, "But
it is like this!" Then, I saw the teacher's face
seems he went and told my mother, "It's your daughter who
should be studying!" (Mother laughs) And it all
was like a picture, you understand, so funny, so funny! So I know,
I remember, I know the reactions, the habits
a time I attended a private school: I didn't go to a state school
because my mother considered it unfitting for a girl to be in
a state school! But I was in a private school, a school of high
repute at the time: their teachers were really capable people.
The geography teacher, a man of renown, had written books, his
books on geography were well known. He was a fine man. So then,
we were doing geography; I enjoyed maps more completely because
it all had to be drawn. One day, the teacher liked at me (he was
an intelligent man), he looked at me and asked, "Why are
towns, the big cities, found on rivers?" I saw the students'
bewildered look; they were saying to themselves, "Lucky the
question wasn't put to me!" I replied, "But it's very
simple! It's because rivers are a natural means of communication."
(Mother laughs) He too was taken aback
it was, all my studies were like that, I enjoyed myself all the
time - enjoyed myself thoroughly, it was great fun!
teacher of literature
He was an old fellow full of all the
most conventional ideas imaginable. What a bore he was, oh!
So all the students sat there, their noses to the grindstone.
He would give subjects for essays - do you know The
Path of Later On and the Road of Tomorrow? I wrote
it when I was twelve; it was my paper on his question! He had
given a proverb (now I forget the words) and expected to be told
all the sensible things! I told my story, that little story, it
was written at the age of twelve. After wards he would eye me
with misgivings! (Laughing) He expected me to make scene
but I was a good girl!
it was always like that: with that something looking on and seeing
the sheer ridiculousness of this life which takes itself so seriously!
the ease: what ever I wanted to do I could do. But there
was one thing (now I understand, at the time I didn't know
why it was so): whatever I wanted to do I could do, but
after a time, I had experienced the thing and it didn't
seem to me important enough to devote a whole life to it.
So I would move on to something else: painting, music, science,
everything, and also practical things. And
always with extraordinary ease. Then, after a while, very
well, I would leave it. So my mother (she was a very stern
person) would say, "My daughter is incapable of seeing
anything through to the end." And it remained like
that: incapable of seeing anything through to the endalways
taking to something, then leaving it, then after a time
taking to something else
- she will never achieve anything in life!" (Mother
it was really childlike transcription of the need forever
more, ever better, ever more, ever better
sense of advance, advance towards perfection. A perfection
that I felt to be quite beyond anything people thought ofsomething
which was indefinable,
but which I sought through everything.