“One unspeakable pleasure that brought no joy”

“And I thought to myself, twelve hours! In those twelve hours the whole world had changed, because of one insensate act. And what madness made a man pursue something so unspeakable, deaf to the cries of wife and children and mother and friends and blind to their danger, to grasp one unspeakable pleasure that brought no joy, ten thousand of which pleasures were not worth one of the hairs of their heads? Such desire could not surely be a desire of the flesh, but some mad desire of a sick and twisted soul. And why should I have it? And where did it come from? And how did one cure it? But I had no answers to these questions.”

– Pieter, after he committed adultery in Alan Paton’s novel Too Late the Phalarope (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), 174.