Darcy's Utopia A Novel - By Fay Weldon

Eleanor Darcy is interviewed by Hugo Vansitart

A: WELL NOW, YOU ask, what is this thing called love? To give you a simple answer—love is enough to make you believe in God. It is the evidence you need which proves the benign nature of the universe. Love heightens your perceptions: it makes the air you breathe beautiful. It lets you know you are alive. It makes the news on the radio irrelevant; it turns the television into flickers. Love places you in the very centre of the universe; the knowledge that in your lover’s eyes you replace God can only be gratifying. It makes you immortal: love, after all, being forever. It makes you vulnerable as a kitten in case you’re wrong, in case love is not forever. One booted kick from the real world, you fear, and splat will go the kitten’s head against the wall, and that’s you finished. Yet fate weaves its heady patterns all around, good luck attends you, nobody boots you. That’s what I mean by love.

In Darcy’s Utopia all men will believe in God and all men will be capable of love.

Q: By men, do you mean women too?

The journalist did his best to be cautious in his questions, friendly in his manner. Public interest in Darcian Monetarism remained lively, although Professor Darcy was now perforce silent, being in prison. Eleanor Darcy, his wife, seldom gave interviews. When she did they were expensive; moreover, she had a reputation for taking offence, throwing journalists quite out of the house. Hugo Vansitart did not want this to happen to him.

A: Of course. As in any legal document, the greater includes the lesser. He incorporates she. Well, that’s what love is all about.

Q: I am relieved to hear this, Mrs Darcy. I had feared that, having already banned money in this perfectly wonderful, perfectly nonexistent society you hold in your head, this Darcy’s Utopia of yours, you might ban love as well! But you won’t, will you?

A: Good heavens, no. The whole place will be riddled with it. Love will serve as our entertainment: it will have to, since there is to be no TV. I do not, by the way, see Darcy’s Utopia as a perfectly wonderful place. Let us say, simply, that it is a workable society, as ours, increasingly, is not. But I haven’t finished with love. Let me get on. Love flatters women more than it does men. It makes the hair shine and the eyes glow; it cures spots. The woman in love attracts: lovers come in shoals or not at all. The man in love is somehow denatured. He can repel even the woman loved. The smile on the face of the man in love, as he draws near, can disconcert: there can seem something unmanly in such devotion, yet behind that unmanliness is the Devilish intent—and I do not mean that the deed he, and indeed you, intend is Devilish, rather that the sense of his being helpless in the face of carnal desire, driven on by it, seems to come from the Devil, not God—God tending to the hesitant, the tentative, in his works, and that perhaps is why the smile can seem false, soppy and indulgent; but soon the face is too near for you to see the smile, and you and he are one, so who cares? These things flicker on the edge of consciousness, are easily pushed down.

Q: Aren’t you talking about yourself, Mrs Darcy?

Outside, above quiet streets, clouds parted and a ray of sunlight pierced the white net curtains to dapple Mrs Darcy’s lean and handsome face. How green her eyes were! She moved to be out of the light, towards him rather than away from him. He found himself pleased. He was taking notes, not liking to rely only upon tapes in so important an interview. His writing was a little shaky. Had his hand been trembling?

A: Yes. Of course. But what is true for me is probably true for you, and everyone else. Love gives folk a sense of singularity and a wonderful overflow of benevolence. Quite giddily one skips about. You must have found that?

Q: I’m sorry, no. But then I’m not a particularly giddy person. Shall we get back to the role of money in a perfect society?

A: Not giddy? What, never? Good Lord, we must see to that! Satan, of course, sometimes puts in a literal appearance, just as does the Virgin Mary. My first husband Bernard actually saw the Devil, flesh